Hazel Crest school district holds emergency meeting on crime, safety

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Hazel Crest holds emergency meeting on school safety
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Concerned parents in Hazel Crest spoke out Tuesday night at an emergency forum with school district officials on crime and safety.

HAZEL CREST, Ill. (WLS) -- Concerned parents in Hazel Crest spoke out Tuesday night at an emergency forum on crime and safety.

School District 152.5 Board President Dean Barnett called the meeting at Jesse White Learner Academy in response to what he said have been ongoing safety issues in the community.

"We have gunshots in the area all the time," Barnett said.

Monday, the Hazel Crest Police Department released a video from March 20 showing shots being fired near a police squad car about a mile and a half from a school. And in January, shots were also fired at a group of cheerleaders as they walked home from a basketball game.

RELATED: Hazel Crest leaders address safety concerns after shots fired at cheerleaders near grade school

"The reality is that the schools are becoming less and less safe," Barnett said. "We believe that kids ought not worry about if they can make it home or make it to school."

The district said they've since hired private security, with plans to contract violence interrupters, improve lighting around their schools, install license plate readers and offer Ring cameras to eligible families. Parents hope to find a solution through community partnerships.

Hazel Crest Police Chief Michael R. Davis III said the district has the full support of the department.

"The kids are everything to us and we will always work to make things better and safer for the kids," he said.

Davis wasn't at the forum Tuesday night because it was scheduled at the same time as the Village Board meeting. The mayor also could not attend as he is in Washington D.C. for a legislative meeting, but he said over the phone he's willing to work with the district and community to help alleviate any concerns parents may have.