Late Night Issues at Washington Elementary Draw Concern

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 19, 2019 at 2:50pm

Ongoing late night problems encountered at Washington Elementary School prompted some discussion during the District 117 Board of Education meeting last night.

Reports of broken drug paraphernalia being found on the school grounds, and some instances of broken playground equipment, led to the discussion on a possible need for future consideration of increased security measures at the school.

The discussion included the possibility of designating the school grounds as a posted No Trespass Zone, something District Superintendent Steve Ptacek is hesitant to see happen.

“What I did tonight was I just introduced the possibility of that happening with the board. Because school districts typically are a playground where people can come and play on throughout the night and on the weekend and it would be very abnormal to go into a no trespassing zone. I don’t want to state that that is happening, but I wanted to get the board’s reaction as to, what if things continued to get worse and we had to consider that. And I got some good feedback from them, that I think they had some very good advice to try to do something where if we did go to no trespassing and we asked the police to be involved to enforce, that would be after sundown to allow students to play on that during the weekend or at night. But if it did get worse, then the question was brought up would we ever put fencing or gating around that location, and that’s a last resort. I don’t think it has a good visual look, once again it would stop kids from playing right after school and on the weekends.”

Ptacek said that because of the school’s location, that something may need to be done in the future to ensure student safety if the issues continue.

“But we do have to take into consideration that there is obviously some activity that is happening at Washington Elementary at night. Because, as I stated, it’s tucked away. You could live in this town for 25 or 30 years and never drive by Washington. It’s not exactly a common-use thoroughfare for people who don’t live in that area. So therefore, I could see the being a lot of times at night without much traffic, and we are noticing some issues.”

No action is being taken at this time by the board. Ptacek said the District will continue to monitor the situation and have further discussion with the board, if issues on the Washington School grounds do not subside.