Is there a problem with fighting and illegal drug use at Hinsdale South High School?
District 86 Board Member Dianne Barrett asserted at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting that there was. Two school board candidates repeated those allegations at a public forum later in the week.
“There’s a problem there,” candidate Bruce Davidson said. “It needs to be addressed.”
“Part of the problem is there’s a lack of recognition there’s a problem,” said candidate Claudia Manley. “There has got to be a recognition that this is a problem, and it has to be addressed.”
Manley said some students were avoiding walking down certain hallways to avoid issues.
“I guess I did not realize there was such a large issue facing Hinsdale South,” candidate Jennifer Planson said. “It’s my understanding that discipline [problems] have been down over there and not on the rise.”
Police numbers don’t show a growing problem
According to Darien Police Department records, there have been three fights documented and two drug-related cases at the school so far this year.
“From 2009 to 2010, we saw in our police reports a decrease in fights and a decrease in drug-related reports,” Police Chief Robert Pavelchik said.
Specifically, fight reports declined from 23 in 2009 to 11 in 2010, according to the police statistics. Reports of illegal drug use, including marijuana, dropped from 12 to 10 during the same time period.
At the March 7 board meeting, Barrett said fighting was going on at Hinsdale South “almost on a daily or weekly basis.”
“This started at our board meeting Monday night,” Board Member Michael Kuhn, who is running for re-election, said during the candidates forum. “We’ve got two great schools.”
Kuhn said accusations were being made without evidence.
“I’m appalled by that,” he said.
Kuhn said the people making the accusations owed the school administration and the district an apology.
Planson noted that there are security cameras in place throughout the building.
“I believe it’s a safe school and environment,” she said.
“The fact that there are cameras there does not stop the fighting,” Manley said.
The issue could come up again at a candidates forum Tuesday at the Hinsdale Community House.