ETHS to change locker protocol following thefts by employees

Rishika Dugyala, Assistant City Editor

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Following the firing of two employees who allegedly stole from students’ lockers, the Evanston Township High School District 202 Board members and administrators have begun implementing changes to locker protocol.

After viewing students’ videos that school officials said implicated staff members in the thefts, the administration did a “careful investigation” before board members eventually terminated the employment of the staff involved, according to a statement ETHS District 202 Board President Pat Savage-Williams read at Monday’s board meeting.

There are now explicit rules for when and how employees can access a locker, which involves administrator supervision in some cases and student presence in others, Savage-Williams said. She said other changes to the locker room protocol include establishing a new online system for reporting lost items, issuing high security locks to freshmen as well as transfer students and destroying master keys for gym lockers’ school-issued locks.

Savage-Williams noted how board members and administrators “shared the shock, dismay and disgust with students and parents upon viewing the videos.”

In addition, board members and administrators plan to consult students, staff and parents on how to avoid future gym locker room thefts, Savage-Williams said. Part of this decision resulted from hearing concerns about how past reports of lost or stolen items were handled and how allegations against safety personnel were addressed, she said.

Administrators will conduct student focus groups to get the students’ firsthand accounts and publish an online questionnaire to gather experiences with locker theft. The information will be compiled this summer into a report offering further safeguards and outlining the steps taken to ensure reports of lost or stolen items are handled properly, Savage-Williams said.

“We appreciate the input by so many of you and recognize it will take all of our efforts to help us move toward a desired result,” Savage-Williams said.

Twitter: @rdugyala822