Dr. Russell shares update on school safety

update on school safety

Dear District 58 Families,

I hope this letter finds you well. As you know, the safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. Therefore, I am writing to you today to ask for your support and assistance. 

Unfortunately, school districts across the country are experiencing an increase in threatening statements made by students (online and in-person) to one another, toward staff, or against schools. District 58 has also experienced these types of incidents (all staff and families have been notified if one of these situations took place at your school). As a parent of school-age children, I find this trend to be very concerning. As an example, all school districts in DuPage County received the following notice yesterday from the Regional Office of Education:

The Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center has been made aware of a threat circulating TikTok stating “school shootings and bomb threats for every school in the USA even elementary” on Friday, December 17th, 2021. Several states have reported this threat has been circulating through their school districts.

Additionally, school districts have experienced students bringing real or lookalike weapons on buses, at school activities, and/or to schools. While this is a trend that is taking place, I truly believe we can work together to bring it to an end in District 58.

I view each and every student in our District in the same manner as my own children. District 58 and the Downers Grove Police Department will do everything possible to protect them from threats and harm. We will continue to place the safety needs of our students and staff above everything else. We will not tolerate any type of threat to our schools. Also, the District will never allow a weapon or lookalike weapon on a bus, at a school activity, or at a school.

Please have a serious conversation with your child(ren) about why it is not okay to make a threatening statement (even in a joking manner) online or in-person. Also, please share with your child(ren) that they cannot bring any type of weapon or lookalike weapon to school, including toys.

If your child(ren) makes a threatening statement or brings a weapon or lookalike weapon to school, they will immediately be referred to the Downers Grove Police Department. Police consequences may include arrest, referral to the State’s Attorney, and the Juvenile Court System. Further, your child(ren) will receive significant consequences at school which may include expulsion (see Board Policy 7:190). The recent tragic events in Michigan underscore why we will not take any chances when it comes to the safety of our students and staff. District 58 is also here to help any student or family that is struggling with mental health issues. If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us right away.

Finally, please talk with your child(ren) about the importance of, “If you see something, say something.” It is extremely important that school personnel are promptly notified of anything that may not seem right so we can investigate all situations in coordination with law enforcement. District staff will also speak with all of our students in the coming days and weeks about this topic (we will do so in an age-appropriate manner).

I recognize that this type of letter may be unsettling. I truly wish I did not have to write this type of letter. However, this is a serious matter and I need your help. Together we can use this as a teachable moment for all of the students in the District so we can ensure the safety of all. 


Dr. Kevin Russell

Superintendent of Schools