An incident in which two Oak Park and River Forest High School students were allegedly struck with an “undetermined object” remains under investigation by school officials and the Oak Park Police Department.
Police officers responded to a call around noon March 4 about a “person with [a] gun” who reportedly hit one student before leaving the scene. Once officers arrived at the school, they confirmed that “there was no longer an active threat” and identified the students involved, according to the police report.
OPRF District 200 spokeswoman Karin Sullivan said the incident took place at 10:18 a.m. and under the bleachers in the fieldhouse and involved three students. Sullivan said the school’s deans placed the call to police around noon, and responding officers came to the school. Through an initial investigation, Oak Park officers and school officials learned that two students were struck by an object but could not verify whether that object was a firearm. The two students’ injuries were minor and treated at school, according to the police report.
D200 Superintendent Greg Johnson emailed staff and families on the same day of the incident, briefly explaining what happened and addressing the “unconfirmed object.”
“We are aware of the reports that this object may have been a firearm; in fact, we’ve received a few emails that assert these reports as fact,” Johnson wrote in the March 4 email. “However, due to uncertain and conflicting accounts of the incident from those involved, coupled with a lack of evidence to support this claim, this report is, in fact, unconfirmed.”
“If it were otherwise, we would let you know,” Johnson told staff and families.
As the investigation continues, Sullivan said the district is responding to the incident, leaning on its behavioral education plan and restorative practices. In the March 4 email, Johnson noted that the plan is founded on the belief that “people are inherently worthy and want to be in strong relationships.”
“Even in the most supportive environment, teenagers will make bad choices at times,” he wrote. “Our focus is on turning these mistakes into authentic learning experiences, by pairing appropriate disciplinary consequences with the opportunity to repair the harm that was done.”
CORRECTION: In a previous story, the Wednesday Journal reported the police department responded to the call at 10:18 a.m. The incident took place at 10:18 a.m. Wednesday Journal regrets the errors.