OPRF discipline on and off campus

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

In a recent talk withOak Parkand River Forest High School Principal Nate Rouse about security matters at the campus, he explained the portal-to-portal, or nexus, concept schools utilize—that is, what a student does from the time he or she lives home to the school and back. This concept played out a couple of years ago with the decision to partially close the campus and what students do when they're off campus. It also came up with the decision to install lights at OPRF four years ago — some residents complained about potential unruly behavior by students around the neighborhood during night games.

Basically, anything that happens off campus that creates a disturbance on campus is investigated by the school, Rouse said.  

Last spring, the Oak Park Public Library contacted the school about some misbehaving students at the library. In our talk, Rouse said the library is a place students tend to go after school. It likely attracted even more students whenScovillePark— another student hangout — was closed for renovations. Rouse said he talked with library officials about preventing some of that misbehavior. OPRF safety and support staff also started walking with students downLake Streetto the library, Rouse said, where they're met by the library's security. And it wasn't clear if it was OPRF students misbehaving, Rouse said, but he noted it was only a couple of incidents that the library reported.

 And in a residential community likeOak Park, that portal-to-portal concept has many layers, he explained.

"The difficult part of being in a residential area is portal-to-portal may look different," Rouse said. "When you have buses, now we're talking about kids who get on a yellow school bus and then they go to their location and then they go to their doorstep. Well, when you have residential areas or places where kids go in between them walking home and getting to their doorstep, it looks different. So what we try to do is called the nexus. It could be something that happens on the weekend, where that disturbance or whatever happened with those students—if that filters its way into the building, then that's something we want to address.

"That doesn't necessarily mean that always there are disciplinary consequences. But at the very least, it's a heads up to families to say, hey, we just got wind that this is happening, we're trying to make sure that that doesn't seep into our learning environment because then that becomes a distraction," he said.  

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Reader Comments

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OP Transplant  

Posted: September 5th, 2013 4:33 PM

The library and park have become something of a combination drug clearinghouse and homeless shelter. When I walked in on a guy naked down to his socks taking a bath in a mens' room sink, I stopped letting my kids go to the library by themselves. Watched a kid sell a small square packet of white powder to another kid in front of the war memorial in broad daylight. Kid just glared at me. Called the police. Waited a while. Both kids left.

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 5th, 2013 9:51 AM

Cont. I don't blame teens from Chicago and Maywood to want to hang out in OP. The problem is the aimless behavior, which could lead to trouble. Yes, use the library, read, expand your mind. But don't just stand outside the library and possibly run into others that either will not like you because of where you "stay at" or because they mistake you for someone else. I think the library staff & other enforcers are in deep denial about what's going on or else they think they're doing the right thing

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 5th, 2013 9:48 AM

@Maggie: I was leaving the library one evening around 6 pm and these two young Black males were tusslings and I couldn't tell if they were play-fighting or what. Then I realized it was serious when I saw BLOOD! And the guard ran out and could not come between them. And he was a big guy, too. So eventually the police get called and one of the young men kept fighting with the cop! A woman stood over his head and urged him to listen to the police and stop resisting. I say this to say that...


Posted: September 5th, 2013 9:36 AM

I support Violet in her assertions. I worked in very close proximity to the main library for several years and the police were a constant presence due to disturbances at the library. Constant.

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 4th, 2013 6:55 PM

Cont. I told him that the sign says that loitering is not allowed. He then said he was in the process of closing down the library that day. So guess what? Let them do their thing. Apparently no one is concerned about teens from Chicago and Maywood standing around, swearing, talking about gang affiliation, etc. It's all good.

Violet Aura  

Posted: September 4th, 2013 6:53 PM

OMG, what bunk. I have seen with my own eyes what happens when some of these kids are at the Main Library. WHY are they there, since they have no interest in reading?! Why can't they go home? They are teenagers, for God's sake! They cause a disturbance and no one comes around unless a patron goes to the desk. I don't go there as often as I used to. There are also rough-looking teens loitering on the plaza--I don't think they're from OP. I told the guard and he said they are allowed to be there.

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