ABC7 gets inside look at expanded Highland Park District 113 school security system

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Inside look at expanded Highland Park school security system
The expanded District 113 security system will debut at Highland Park High School first before expanding to Deerfield High School.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- New security measures are coming to Highland Park schools after last year's deadly parade shooting.

ABC7 got a special first-hand look at what that system will look like and the security plans moving forward for District 113 schools.

The District expedited the rollout, and it will debut at Highland Park High School first before expanding to Deerfield High School.

District 113 Superintendent Dr. Bruce Law walked through the new weapons detection system that will debut at Highland Park High School on Wednesday morning for the first day of school.

"The board approved having a weapons detection system at both schools. We were starting at one school, one door. Tomorrow, we will learn a lot from it. We'll learn about how to get students through quickly. We'll learn from students about how it makes them feel, and then, it will also be at Deerfield High School, also starting on a small scale, because we're trying to learn from a school as well," Law said.

Last week, district leaders approved a small-scale use of the new system for the new school year, but after a Highland Park High School student was killed in a tragic shooting, the district pivoted their original plans.

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"The intention was to have a small rollouts once we had the opportunity to teach students what to expect, how to move through quickly. Also, to talk to staff about the best way to implement this. But because of the shooting on Sunday, we decided we've got to do this on the first day of school and learn as we go where it's going to," Law said.

Enrique Perez, a Highland Park parent with the organization Parent SOS, said they are grateful that the district moved up the new security roll out, but parents still have concerns.

"We want to get it over the finish line. I think, we used to be at the 50-yard line. Then, we came to the 10-yard. We want to get the down, then we want to push it over, and we want to volunteer for our efforts to help in any way we can with the district," Perez said.

Parents SOS hopes this is the first step to what will be a larger scale "all-encompassing" approach to student safety.

"We want full implementation. And, what I mean by that is that the weapons detection system had all three main entrances: the athletic entrance and the main entrance to the high school, and an appropriate number of armed security personnel on an ongoing basis," Perez said.

At about 6 p.m., parents at District 113 schools were in the middle of a district committee meeting to share both their appreciation and concerns over the rollout of a weapons detection system.

District leaders said the new system will be place at an unspecified entrance on Wednesday morning, and looking ahead, based off what they learn from this roll out the security system, it could be expanded to all school entrances.