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Central administration addresses knife incident

Riddhi Andurkar, Managing Editor

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Bringing a weapon to school is a clear violation of school policy. However, this didn’t stop one Central student from bringing knives to school.

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, a Naperville Central student was found to be in possession of knives. Another student saw these knives and reported it to Central administration.

“Staff and students [were] paying attention and [were] aware of their surroundings,” assistant principal Jackie Thornton said. “They [knew] each other well enough to know when behavior was a bit off and [reported] it.”

Principal Bill Wiesbrook heard about the incident through a dean.

“The student in possession apparently had shown one of those knives to at least one person, who reported it,” Wiesbrook said. “That’s how [administration] found out about it.”

The student was called into the dean’s office, where the student’s backpack was searched and four knives were found.

“When I heard that a student was found to be in possession of knives, I got some details,” Wiesbrook said. “Three of the knives were really small, but one of the knives was about the length of my hand.”

After administration received all the details of the incident, Wiesbrook issued a Talk203 email to Central families on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Central administration did not want to reveal the name of the dean because deans are assigned alphabetically according to student last names and there was the risk that the identity of the student might be revealed.

School resource officer Ann Quigley investigated the situation along with Central administration and determined that Central community was not in danger.

“There’s no evidence that that student threatened to harm anybody with those knives and there’s no evidence that led us to feel that students’ safety was in jeopardy,” Wiesbrook said. “It’s a clear violation of school rules […] to bring a weapon to school. All students should know that that’s a violation of school rules with very serious consequences.”

Students were not formally informed about the incident. However, they did receive the information in the Talk203 email from their parents and heard rumors from their peers.

“I was shocked when I first heard about it,” senior Angelina Lee said. “There was definitely an element of ‘This happened at our school?’ like we’re somehow distant from the issue. I also felt almost surrounded, because the news about the Las Vegas shooting had come out around the same time, the ‘newest’ worst mass shooting in American history.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Illinois law states that a school can expel a student for up to two years for possessing a knife or any other weapon that could be harmful or threatening to students in a school environment.

In addition, the NCHS Redbook states that the school reserves the right to expel a student who is found to be in possession of a weapon in school or in any school-related activity. More information on disciplinary action can be found on page 114 of the Redbook or here.

In addition to the school consequences, this student was required by the Naperville Police Department to appear in court on Nov. 14.

“If we discover that a student has a weapon in school, the police officer in our building will be involved and there will be some version of police consequence along with school consequences,” Wiesbrook said. “The police consequence for this student included going to court.”

Referring to the Oct. 3 incident in which a student was found in possession of an unloaded handgun and the current knife incident, Wiesbrook believes that there was no correlation between the proximity of the two incidents.

“I think it’s purely circumstantial,” Wiesbrook said. “I don’t think [the two incidents] are related. I don’t think there’s something causing this that I can control. I think it’s just two unfortunate incidents of students making inappropriate decisions about bringing something to school that they shouldn’t have at school.”

Thornton found out about the incident through Wiesbrook. She believes that the way this situation was handled was all because of the teachings of Central’s (Be)3 program.

“[This incident] was a huge (Be)3 celebration,” Thornton said. “We’re paying attention to what’s happening and we’re talking to trusted people when we feel like something is a bit off. That is  what you always do to keep each other safe. There are 3,000 of us paying attention every day, not just administration.”

Thornton appreciates that this student was aware and alert of the surroundings and hopes that all students remain alert to bring such issues to the administration’s notice.

“A student should never bring a weapon to school,” Wiesbrook said. “If [students] ever feel like they want to or they should, they should absolutely communicate with their parents or with an adult at the building about what is causing them to [feel threatened].”

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.
Central administration addresses knife incident