Will County Judicial Committee met April 3.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
I. Call To Order
Chair Darren Bennefield called the meeting to order at 9:07 am
Attendee Name; Title; Status; Arrived:
Darren Bennefield Chair Present
Gretchen Fritz Vice Chair Present
Kenneth E. Harris Member Present
Tim Kraulidis Member Present
Tyler Marcum Member Present
Debbie Militello Member Present
Beth Rice Member Present
Donald Gould Member Late
Gloria Dollinger Member Absent
Mark Ferry Member Late
Laurie Summers Member Present
Judy Ogalla Member Present
Also Present: R. Freitag, H. Brooks
Present from the State's Attorney's Office: M. Tatroe
II. Pledge Of Allegiance To The Flag
Gretchen Fritz led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
III. Approval Of Minutes
1. WC Judicial Committee - Regular Meeting - Mar 6, 2018 9:00 am
Result: Approved [7 To 0]
Mover: Gretchen Fritz, Vice Chair
Seconder: Tyler Marcum, Member
Ayes: Bennefield, Fritz, Harris, Kraulidis, Marcum, Militello, Rice
Away: Gould, Ferry
Not Voting: Summers, Ogalla
IV. Old Business
V. New Business
1. Presentation by the Circuit Clerk's Office on E-Filing
(Andrea Chasteen & Jesse Goehl)
Andrea Chasteen & Jesse Goehl from the Circuit Clerk’s office gave a presentation on E filing.
Illinois Supreme Court entered an order mandating all of the 102 counties in Illinois to use eFileIL to electronically file their documents in the courts. The mandate went into effect January 1, 2018. They have been live for a few months now. Ms. Chasteen went over the handout. Tyler Technologies is a company out of Texas that got the State contract, they are the file manager for every county in Illinois as of January 1st and will be for criminal going forward when that becomes a mandate probably in a year or so. Chase Bank is their bank of choice for all of their credit card and debit card transactions as well as the ACH e-check transactions as well for the filers. There are about 10 or so different websites from an attorney, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, so whether you’re a government employee or you’re a self-representative litigate, you access these front facing websites to make your filing selections. They all go into eFileIL then to the correct Clerk’s office. eFileIL gets it, then they send a copy of that filing to the Circuit Clerk’s office, our clerk reviews it, if it’s accepted, they put the stamps on it, all of the same things they would do if the person walked into their office, walked up to the counter and spoke with a clerk with papers in their hand. Once it’s stamped, a copy goes into their case management system, to be automatically documented, the same way it’s been done for years manually. The filer gets an automatic filing stamp, and an electric copy goes to eFileIL who is creating a product called re:SearchIL, the big push for this project is for the Judges, it is basically a depository for electronic images that are submitted through their product. So the person can go ahead and make a filing through eFileIL, a copy goes to re:SearchIL going forward, if you wanted to you could find any court filing in any county in Illinois as long as it is a public filing. Something like an adoption would be a sealed document, you wouldn’t be able to get it without a court order but any other type of document you would be able to get through this one system. The big push is obviously that every county is going to operate the same way, so it will essentially be a centralized standardized filing system. We have been using i2File in the past the, which was an e-filing website that was created by DuPage County Circuit Clerk’s office. It has been working well for us but obviously it’s not in every county. One of the things we would run into is a filer would be used to one filing system then come to Will County and it would look totally different to them than what they were used to. One of the benefits of OdysseyeFileIL is that now that it is mandated that every county in the state has to use it and they are in other states as well. The idea is it is supposed to be easier for filers, it’s supposed to be easier for the Clerk’s office because our work processes are all going to be the same now throughout the office as far as how to review certain types of filings, all the documents look similar, and document coding is very streamline.
When individuals decide to file their documents with us, there are many different ways that a person can obtain documents, they can go on their website, they can get the documents off of the website and electronically type on those then submit them through the product as a PDF document. Filers can still walk in with their handwritten paper documents, they have a staff members there to greet them and walk them through the process. They have scanners set up, so they basically scan in their documents then upload through the product, then submit to our counter in an envelope to review. They go to the counter and have the clerk pull up the envelope that they already submitted to them, the reviewer then looks at them and time stamps them and collects a filing fee if needed. So individuals that don’t have computers at home or don’t have a bank account or want to make a cash payment, can still do this in the office. Their review time is usually a 2 day process. They are working on auto-docketing and auto printing, to streamline the process. They have had tremendous feedback from filers that this is much more convenient. The state put together for those who do not have computers a certificate of exemption form, so individuals can notify the courts they cannot file electronically for multiple reasons.
Mr. Bennefield asked if the turnaround process was 2 days, is that quicker than the old process.
Ms. Chasteen stated the actual process for an individual to come in to file a document, this is more of a convenience method. There is a window of flexibility for a filer online, that they have up until midnight vs the office hours they are open to have that date on their documents.
Mr. Bennefield asked regarding costs, are we at the same cost for recording documents.
Ms. Chasteen and Mr. Goehl responded that as far as what they do. The Supreme Court and Illinois Statues pretty much govern all of their filing fees associated with document filings. They still collect the court’s filing fee, 99% of the time you are paying the same filing fee as if you went to a clerk’s office in person.
Mr. Bennefield, for clarified, if I upload a PDF I can just upload it into the system.
Ms. Chasteen responded you set up an account using a debit card or if you’re an attorney you can set up your account using a checking account to make a payment. You would log into one of these providers, submit your documents electronically through it, to eFileIL then it shows up in their queue for them to review and process.
Mr. Bennefield asked so then that system is encrypting the PDF so that no personal information can be intercepted.
Ms. Chasteen responded yes, all of the security process is done by the venders that were certified by the state and were chosen. The PDF may not be encrypted because they are a public document, unless the filer says they should be sealed because it is a confidential document, there are some standards that the provider must protect that document, such as an adoption, social security number on it, etc.
Mr. Bennefield asked who is determining whether the file is a private document or not.
Ms. Chasteen responded the filer.
Mr. Bennefield asked so if the filer says this is not a private document but it has a social security number on it and they send it through our system and somehow that information gets picked up, who is liable.
Ms. Chasteen responded it would still come back to the filer, the filer would have a choice to then handle to documentation properly and ask the court to impound or seal those documents. It would be governed by a judge’s decision. The same thing if a document was marked confidential which should not be, the courts would have to release it.
Mr. Bennefield stated he is concerned when we start sending information electronically and allowing an individual other than ourselves to determine what personal information is and what is not. In my opinion all of the documents should be encrypted whether they all are or are not personal information. Ms. Chasteen responded we believe that is part of the certification process which we don’t govern that. The AOIC and Tyler Technologies have picked these companies and put them through their own certification process.
Mr. Tuminello stated it appears Tyler Technologies host is really the domain that handles all of the transactions and the uploading and that Illinois has a sub domain on there. I saw on one of the slides there is a go to assist if you have an issue, I just want to clarify that that’s not our Circuit Clerk office that does to go to assist to help the individual file, that it is Tyler host.
Ms. Chasteen stated that Tyler Technologies provides a 1-800 service and an email support service. Filers can also go on their home page and sign up themselves for different training sessions. Filers come to their office every day after court, they are very busy in their office. They have a least 2-3 people out in the lobby area to assist.
Mr. Tuminello stated they/or your office is assisting on how to file not what to file, we are not advising.
Ms. Chasteen agreed that we cannot advise individuals. We can explain the process and procedures or document requirements or something we see in the review process they didn’t do if they are in the office.
Mr. Tuminello asked how does the public know this system exist and how are you getting the word out from your department.
Ms. Chasteen stated they have been giving the information out to the public for almost a year but the mandate went into effect January 1. Letters were sent out regarding the mandate and how to do it electronically. They had flyers, press releases and word of mouth.
Ms. Militello stated the training they had here was over 100 people and that included the attorney’s and public, it was well attended and they did a fantastic job and stayed after to help people with questions. She stated there are also volunteers at the Law Library that can possibly help people through the processes too. Public can also do their research there.
Mr. Gould, Mr. Brooks and Mr. Ferry arrived at this time in the meeting.
Handout from Joint Judicial & Public Health at Committee
2. Discussion Re: Safety in the Schools
Mr. Bennefield thanked everyone for coming in today, as you all know this is a Joint Committee along with Public Health & Safety, we have come together to discuss the safety in schools issues that was prompted by Mr. Tuminello in our Executive Committee meeting. Today we want to open up the discussion about safety in schools, what we can do here at the County to assist the school districts. Mr. Tuminello stated he wanted to personally thank both committees for opening up this discussion on this topic, obviously this is a sensitive topic that is on everyone’s mind from coast to coast. This is a serious issue we face in a reality of a time that maybe 20, 30, 50 years ago we didn’t have to look at. One of the things he brought up in Executive committee was that our local governments have made great strides when it came down to fatalities in our schools with regard to fires, with regard to tornados, but with regard to school safety I feel it is lacking. One of the things I begin to look at is how do we protect other individuals. We give support to protecting our judges, we give support to protecting our athletes, concerts, musicians but we don’t do those same things for our children in a lot of cases. I know there has been some great advancements, but from a County standpoint I know we don’t have any jurisdiction doing certain things in the schools. But from a County standpoint were doing what we can be doing to help assist the schools in our County to make sure what we know is proven that works with armed individuals and metal detectors and things along those lines, camera, security there’s all kinds of things on the market now, from panic buttons to safety glass to everything in between. I just want to get the discussion going to see if there is any desire to form something together with the Superintendent of Schools, with the school districts, with the Sheriff’s Department. At the end of the day is there a program we could all strive to put together that allows every child to go home safe, I think then we have succeeded. By continuing to wait for Washington and Springfield to use this as a political football for their political gain and their political future is not the right thing to do. The right thing to do is attack the problem head on. It’s a very charged topic obviously because one side of the aisle thinks we’re going to ban guns, the other side may think we need more profiling or different avenues to get this done, we can’t wait for this to happen. I don’t see either of those options working but we already do know what works, so I would appreciate members on both sides of the aisle come to me to help out and work together. This is the first meeting to see where do we go from here, how do we involve the schools, the Sheriff’s Department and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, I just want every child to get home safe.
Dr. Walsh from the Regional Office of Education stated what they are doing from his office is they have partnered with Will County EMA in 2014 and established what is called K-12 School Safety Task Force. They have invited Superintendents, Principals, Teachers, building custodians and from the EMA portion of it they have local fire, local law and a Will County Sheriff representative on there as well. It is basically to discuss best practices in school safety not necessarily focusing on school shooters but all areas of school safety such as fire drills, nuclear disasters etc. What they have tried to establish is that each school district has a school safety team, which they have their own committee to discuss emergency operations plans. The goal is that if there is something from the State Board of Education or Federal government that needs to be rolled out it’s a simple process from our group at the County level down to the local district to each individual school building. Some of the professional development that we have offered is youth mental health training, behavioral threat assessment. Every year an administrator has to get what is called an Administrator Academy, next week they have one coming up regarding school security presented by Paul Timm who is an expert in the field. As far as what the law requires that each school district is supposed to do, evacuation drills, fire drills, tornado drills, law enforcement drills, they have to do at least 3 a year. Each year they have to meet with local law and fire to review their emergency operation plans. Those are some of the things happening in the schools right now.
Mr. Bennefield stated you talked about emergency operation plans, what type of training are they providing to the staff at this time in the incident of an active shooter.
Dr. Walsh responded each year they are supposed to be doing at least 1 law enforcement drill as it’s called. Based on what their emergency plan calls for, they are doing a training based on that plan so refer to it as a lockdown.
Mr. Bennefield asked if each emergency operation plan is determined by each district.
Dr. Walsh stated there is a template from the State Board of Education that the district can manipulate to the needs of their school. Not every school is built the same way, so depending how the school set up that will determine the emergency operation plan.
Ms. Ogalla asked if they had a schedule that they can look at to see when the training is or what training is being done.
Dr. Walsh responded they don’t necessarily send a schedule to him, each individual school district will establish when they are doing their trainings, and they will coordinate with their local law enforcement and fire. As far as his office they have professional development alliance, they partner with our Grundy/Kendal Regional Office of Education to do trainings periodically for school safety. Those either happen at the Professional Development Alliance which is on McDonough Street or they do onsite trainings for schools as well.
Lt. Hayes from the Will County Sheriff’s department who is in charge of school safety for the department stated that he oversees all of the schools in the unincorporated areas, which every school in unincorporated Will County has a protocol and procedure. They do active shooter drills and scenario training on teacher institute days for the teachers to let them know what their role is. They are mandated by State law at least once a year for him to personally go to these schools and partake in the lockdown drills. We assess the school’s needs, they assess any problems or issues. Our people also have all of the blueprints of these schools. They have contacts of all of the schools that have bus routes. They also do evacuation drills at some of the schools, they do many activities with these schools. They have currently in the Lincoln-Way area, 3 armed officers in the Lincoln-Way school district which is their biggest school district that includes over 7200 students.
Ms. Militello stated she used to be on the Board in Channahon and the Channahon Police are in the Minooka and Channahon schools and did the same thing. Do the other communities have their police departments do the same thing by being active and having programs in place.
Lt. Hayes responded probably every police department in Will County has a program in place. He also meets with the school boards to go over the fundamentals and sign off on the protocols of the safety issues. They have at least one meeting a year to discuss the pros and cons of things they need to change, they also have access to him if there are any particular questions or issues that they need answered or if something comes up.
Mr. Tuminello stated he is hearing that we do a lot of training, so if a shooter is in a school everyone knows what they are doing and we have a plan in place. But what are we doing to actually prevent guns getting into the school. We have a great plan once it’s happening, once someone is already firing a gun down the hallway. He wants a plan to prevent the guns getting in the school before they start shooting down the hallway. That is what he would like to see, where can the County help these school districts. I think it’s great we have armed officers in the Lincoln-Way schools but those schools are so big the shooter could be on the 2nd floor or the 3rd floor opposite ends of the school and if the gun is already in the school how do we address that.
Lt. Hayes responded you then can implement metal detectors, that would be up to the school district. Will County schools that he is aware of, do not have metal detectors. We don’t pat people down as they come through the door physically. The Deans are very active with our people they assess. We basically assess certain people, we have a great relationship with the social media sites, we make a lot of cases based on the people start talking on social media that they’re going to shoot up the school or shoot the Dean, whatever the case may be and we immediately investigate that and take a look at these instances. We have to investigate them whether they are modified or not modified, they make numerous arrests based on that. The school districts are very receptive and listen to them now, they take the changes very serious that they recommend. Before they didn’t lock all of their doors, it was different situation or living a different culture, where they would open up certain doors and leave them open. We have realized now we can’t do that, we have to have controlled access to the schools by making certain changes like that where the students all come in one door or the other and exit one door or the other. As far as bringing guns, let’s face it, they bring in backpacks every day, they bring in all kinds of stuff. He had one at Laraway School a few years ago where a student brought a gun in, had it until 3:00 in the afternoon, nobody knew about it, at 3:10 he pulled it out pointed it to a student’s leg and pulled the trigger, the gun was loaded but he didn’t pull one up into the chamber of the weapon.
Mr. Bennefield commented that they are really looking for a way to secure the perimeter of the school. How do we stop weapons from getting into the schools, particularly guns. You said metal detectors that is one way.
Lt. Hayes replied yes if the schools would implement that. Is it necessary to have every child, every person including teachers walk through metal detectors. He doesn’t know.
Mr. Tuminello stated he doesn’t know either, that was just a suggestion, I know that we currently do that for a lot of individuals and it’s a way that works? Is there another way out there that works. Is there something that we’re missing or something we could be discussing with the schools?
Lt. Hayes reiterated a lot of things travel through social media sites and they make our people aware of it or they hear something of course they immediately flag those people, they search the cars, they go to their house, we check into it immediately and investigate those cases. Do the schools really want something like that, are they going to have something in place whether they have wands or have them walk through the metal detectors, he doesn’t know if it’s a need, it’s hard to say.
Mr. Bennefield stated that is why we are here to try to work with the school districts to determine if that is something that they would be willing to do. And if so, how can we help. It’s the interest of everyone in this room and Will County to protect our children. I think there is a viable discussion for having metal detectors in schools. He would like to have some input on this.
Mr. Balich stated we are talking about prevention, you talked about backpacks they came up with an idea of clear backpacks then supposedly that’s unconstitutional. The rights of one individual have seemed to out weigh the rights of the majority in our society today. It’s not a law but that is what happens today, the rights of one group out weigh the rights of many groups. So a clear backpack is an infringement on a person’s rights. That is just one of the problems we have. The problem that exists is why are kids killing people now. They weren’t killing people 30 years ago. The reason for that is the children are going to school and there are no consequences for bad actions, there is a lack of morality now, they have no moral basis anymore. So I can do whatever I want and there’s no consequence. We have to start teaching our children the importance of morality and the value of life. It goes further than the guns it goes into the opioid problem. If people respected other people and they respected themselves and they respect life and they know there is a value to life your not going to have these problems because we didn’t have these problems 30 years ago like this. So we have to get to the root of it. What Mr. Tuminello is talking about is important, very important. If we are going to get with schools and work with schools, let’s figure out how to bring back values again.
Mr. Kraulidis asked how many schools actually fall into the jurisdiction of Will County as far as the unincorporated schools you deal with.
Lt. Hayes responded there are about 28 give or take, grammar school to high school.
Mr. Kraulidis asked when you work with the school districts, does the department work directly with them on these trainings. Lt. Hayes responded yes they do.
Mr. Kraulidis asked what have you seen as a proactive approach, that is actually a precautionary approach to the guns issue, what have the schools worked on dealing with this particular issue.
Lt. Hayes responded we involve the schools to allow them to call a lockdown drill, and hopefully neutralize the threat outside of the school. So before, some of the protocol was your school may have to call the Principal or Superintendent to do a lockdown, now they have given access to everybody, any teachers are allowed to do such. So we have addressed some of these issues instead of just lockdown and tell them there is a liable threat out there, try to keep it outside of the schools and of course contact us. A lot of them do have locking corridors now, double doorways, panic buttons. They do have these in place and have safety mechanisms in there, we go through them once a year, hit the buttons and make sure they are all functioning. Part of this is the awareness training for the teachers what their roles are going to be too. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to be organized chaos and to know what will be expected of you and what’s expected of the teachers to take control and assist the Sheriff’s department until they get there.
Mr. Kraulidis asked so as far as precautionary discussions relating to anything from metal detectors to additional security, there hasn’t been any discussion.
Lt. Hayes responded they do scenario training with the teachers, so what they do is on their institute day, we basically put scenarios out there and break them up into groups and say ok what do you think, what are you going to do and what are your next steps. Then we critique that and work with them to explain what might be a better action in that case.
Mr. Kraulidis stated he is just trying to understand when we talk about jurisdiction and the Sheriff’s department and how we work together with the schools, where is the initiative taking place. With some of the violence that has been happening, he would like to know what you think, if you feel it is adequate security that you have 3 deputies for 27 schools.
Lt. Hayes responded yes. Those 3 stay at the school, he oversees the schools, he is the liaison for the schools. They are assigned to that school, they work within the Lincoln Way area. They have great relationships with those schools, they work the events where there are thousands of people sometimes at these events, which of course is always a risk for us too. We do have things in place, we do have precautions. We are going to be doing an active shooter drill with Lincoln Way school district later this year which will involve our SWAT team.
Mr. Kraulidis responded to your earlier point that is still an active shooter and is not precautionary, that is acting after the fact. Maybe we can examine something with the school board to be a little more precautionary.
States Attorney Jim Glasgow stated obviously this is a difficult subject for all of us, we have kids, nieces and nephews and grandkids in our local schools. The law enforcement people are better to speak to the actual fire power that is needed or not needed. Citizens don’t understand the scenarios police go through, they don’t just start shooting they make sure there are no innocent person that is going to be struck before they fire, and the average person is not going to be able to quantify that. So a lot of innocent people would probably be injured if we did that. Texas has signs on their schools that says “There are armed personnel in this building, they have been instructed to use whatever force is necessary to protect the children here in”. What is wrong with that statement.nothing. And no one goes into the Texas schools so far. I don’t know if this is a bluff or there is a whole legin of people. That brings me to the “No Trespass Notice” that I worked with the Joliet Police Department on Troy schools. Years ago, there were kids bringing pellet guns and bb guns and toy guns into the school, well those aren’t illegal per se. So they couldn’t be arrested for that, all they could do is administratively punish them. But think about what could happen an alarm goes off and a kid has a gun that looks like a real gun, SWAT Team is dispatched, they are traveling at high speed, they are in jeopardy we’re in jeopardy in traffic issues, they get there, they might shoot the child because it might present itself as a real armed individual pointing the gun at the police when it’s not a real gun. This “No Trespass Notice” was simply posted on the main entrances, it was included in the handbook that the parents sign off on and you could list in there anything you wanted such as box cutters, razor blades, knives. Those are not illegal but they are dangerous in schools. So if you have a student that is just not listening, so you administratively punished him the first time for a knife and then he does it again, if you can’t ramp it up you’re not going to solve the problem. This is a prophylactic you can just stick on the door, use it when you want to, you don’t have to use it. Dr. Walsh invited me to talk to the Superintendents at the end of this month and I’m going to have some forms available, they will also be available on my website, you can download it and tailor it to whatever your needs are. I think at this point and time it’s something we need to urge people to do. It gives my office the ability to come in, the law has been amended; now there’s a disorderly conduct statute that has a class 4 felony when you threaten violence in a school, bodily harm, death. We are very aggressive, we work with Lt. Hayes and his department whenever they have a case with these social media issues. As soon as we document it and we connect it to the individual they are charged, most of them are in Juvenile Court. It is dealt with immediately because we have seen what happens when you ignore those kind of threats. Back in 1993 we had gang fights in the Courthouse, there were probably a dozen of them when I just came into Office. I had an idea to have an administrative order in the Courthouse banning fighting, banning profanity, all acts of disorderly conduct, but it worked. It was in direct contempt of court to violate that order, we could take you to a bench trial in front of a Judge, no jury, no appeal and up to six months in jail. They stopped overnight. So, things can work if you just use common sense and put your heads together. If you look at the kids that go and do these shootings, when they are slaughtering their classmates it doesn’t bother them. They have done it thousands of times in 3-D on their television screen. We have to start talking about these moral issues we can’t do anything with punishment if they don’t fear punishment. We’ve got some work to do, I don’t know how we do it maybe we can talk to Dr. Walsh about character education upgraded programs. Maybe the County Board could look into finding a security architect that could possibly consult with the schools. There has to be some modifications on ingress and egress, the schools are just wide open, they have glass everywhere. As we do new things we should have somebody advising us on this issue. We are going to do our best to partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we already work with all of the Federal Agencies, but to get it to its highest peak and really functioning, if I have to get a cross-designated attorney in my office with the U.S. Attorney, they will take cases that they normally wouldn’t take. I am optimistic that we can make some changes here and maybe Will County can create a corporation like this that would serve as a template for the nation, because every prosecutor can do what I’m doing.
Ms. Traynere stated she just wanted to say thank you for pulling together this conversation. In response to Mr. Kraulidis’ comments on prevention, at one high school after a shooting the parents organized a group and put notes on the lockers doors. I think those kind of prevention items are the most easy to do and important. It gets the kids to understand that the other kids do care about them. That there are people they can reach out to if they are feeling emotionally distraught or upset. It is not the school’s job to teach morality but I do think they can do some things to make sure all of the kids know there’s someone to go and talk to. I don’t think they know that. I think there is more a school can do to show that or demonstrate that and that would be helpful.
Dr. Burke pointed out that when we’re having discussions about security, we are talking about children. I always get very nervous as an educator when we frame it as security issues and looking at law enforcement only. We need to have child development and people here that understand how a child is being raised, what they are dealing with and the emotional impact. We have taken all of the social workers out of the schools, we have taken all the services that support kids who are in trouble out of the schools because they are too expensive. Now were putting security in, that says to me we are out of balance. Social/Emotional learning has been one of the most significant movements in the school systems.
They are building that into their classroom curriculum. So there are things that are going into place to outweigh this concern, if you want to call it morality, it’s really just moral responsibility citizenship. Hero Helps at their conference May 11th they are bringing an expert Laura Porter. She is an expert in adverse childhood experiences. That is the basis why kids act sometimes the way they do based on experiences that had growing up. I invite all of you to come to our conference. We are looking at what’s causing that need to self-medicate, that need to use.
State’s Attorney Glasgow brought up the YES Program that Joliet Central and Joliet West have had for the last 15 years. It’s using social workers who are in their Master Program under the supervision of one licensed Social Worker from the Health Department. They have reduced the drop-out rate, they have increased the graduation rate, and violence has gone down on the campus. These kids have someone to go talk to, it can be life changing because they don’t have anyone at home like that to talk to. I also support the 2nd Amendment but one thing I see is irresponsible gun owners/ownership, kids have access to the guns and come to school with the guns, how many times do we see that in the news. This can’t happen, you have a duty to be more responsible as a gun owner. If you irresponsibly leave your gun out and your child shoots themselves there should be criminal consequences from a reckless standpoint. We need to focus on this so they can’t be stolen or misused.
Ms. Ogalla stated that having an adopted child herself who had behavior health issues at school, it’s really important that the teachers identify the issue that the child is not just having a bad day. A child that has repeated issues needs to be handled in a much different manner than punishment, they need to have the right resources at the school. Dr. Walsh what is in the school system to help teachers identify those students and get help?
Dr. Walsh responded one of the things they are doing is mental health training to try and identify a different approach to a child that is having these issues. Our office does try and provide assistance in these situations by sending people out to their buildings if they request it to provide some training.
Ms. Ogalla stated she thinks it would be good to have an assembly once a year to have the students attend and have the parents attend to identify a typical high school student and a-typical high school students behavior, how do we figure it out. A parent doesn’t sometimes know what to do or how to get help. We need to develop a program at the schools to help parents understand what is going on. She believes some parents would come.
Mr. Marcum would like to see Joliet Township schools be invited to the next meeting, they already have metal detectors in the schools. They have addressed mental health, they have addressed prevention of bringing things into the school, they have security guards, they work with Joliet Police Department with having detectives in the school. They could give us a good overview of what they have been doing.
Ms. Rice stated as a former teacher herself, you need to look at each individual school as far as increased security, they are structured differently with what mental health services are available to them. They are structured differently with student/teacher ratio, schools like to feel that the communities are working together. How do we help and how do we partner to make everyone feel safer. Mr. Ferry asked if the Parent Teacher Association is still active in schools and if so could they be a resource to be combined with the counseling and knowledge base that you get from counselors to help with the students. He thinks we need to urge the association to be more active and involved in the schools. Parent, teachers and counselors working together to mitigate problems.
Ms. Militello stated as we invite other groups we might want to think about having more night meetings so more people can attend.
Ms. Summer stated she would like to and also rotate these meetings around the county, and be looking at the underlying issues.
Mr. Tuminello stated to come together as a group to really think about what to do to protect our children and try and do our part, I think is very important and I would like to thank everyone. One of the things I would like to suggest is that we pull together a group of all individuals at the table to see what the county can be doing to make sure our children get home safely. In the next meeting Lincoln Way 210 Superintendent, Dr. Tingley should be here since his schools are directly affected being unincorporated, and Joliet West to hear how they actually prevent things getting into schools.
VI. Other New Business
VII. Public Comment
Robert Medina, business owner in the community, wanted to give his observations and viewpoint. His daughter attends CMU and he received a call from her the beginning of spring break and she was scared because they locked the school down because there was a shooting; it was one of her friends who had no history of mental health issues. He is a rehabilitated gang member and now a pastor. He believes rehabilitation takes time and he is a little frustrated listening to this but how do we fix things today. When he took his daughter back to school he saw kids going into emergency exits, there is glass everywhere that can be broken to get in. The individual that did this walked up to the 4th floor with a gun in his hand, there were cameras but what are we doing as a community to stop the guns getting in. He believes there are a lot of individuals that would be will to give help in the community whether it's their knowledge or something they manufacture or something they do as a profession. He works with a company that they are partnering with for the schools in Florida for a resistant film that has been proven to do certain things. He thinks we should be doing something that affects the issue immediately as opposed to long term. He thinks this forum is important, let's harden the schools now by securing the perimeter. It's important for us to know these kids need love and help, that is not going to happen overnight.
VIII. Chairman's Report / Announcements
IX. Executive Session
1. Motion to Adjourn at 10:35 a.m.
Result: Approved [Unanimous]
Mover: Tyler Marcum, Member
Seconder: Debbie Militello, Member
Ayes: Bennefield, Fritz, Harris, Kraulidis, Marcum, Militello, Rice, Gould, Ferry, Summers, Ogalla