ALTON, Ill. – The Alton School Board met for the first time Thursday morning since multiple fights last week at Alton High School prompted significant changes. The school board held a special meeting at 7:30 a.m.
That meeting lasted less than a half hour, and then the board moved on to a finance meeting. The board went into a closed session for a student discipline issue not related to last week’s fights just minutes after the meeting started.
District Superintendent Kristie Baumgartner told FOX 2 that the board was expected to discuss last week’s fights at the high school. However, Baumgartner did not expect any action to be taken at the meeting regarding the fights. There was no discussion of the fights in open session and no action was taken, so any discussion would have taken place in closed session.
Both Baumgartner and the board president declined on-camera interviews with FOX 2 and News 11. Meanwhile, students returned to Alton High School on Wednesday for the first time since the fights. In an email to parents this week, Baumgartner called the fights “inexcusable” and “unacceptable.”
Her email outlined several new procedures and measures that started at the high school on Wednesday. Among them is the implementation of what Baumgartner calls “concealed weapon detection systems.”
Baumgartner explained that the equipment is similar to metal detectors.
We’re told the systems, known as Open Gate Systems, were ordered a while ago and were not a direct response to the fights. Baumgartner says the plan originally was to start using the equipment at district schools later this month, but she revealed that the systems started at the high school Wednesday to increase safety and things seemed to go smoothly.
Several other new measures are also in place at the high school.
Those include an increase in law enforcement and staff presence, limiting students access to areas of the school, restrictions on how students can use cell phones, and new bus dismissal guidelines.
Authorities at the Madison County Sheriff’s Department say juvenile charges in connection with the fights are still pending.