Tom Hernandez

Director of Communications

  (630) 513-2593

March 24, 2006

Education Partners, good afternoon.

The bottom line is that nothing is more important to us than the safety and security of our students and staff. To that end, we have developed a very strict protocol with the assistance of our police department. We rely on their guidance, and follow their directions to the “T”.

They are the experts and our partners in such matters. We implicitly trust their judgment. If they feel there is a credible threat, the police will not put children and staff into harm’s way. But, by the same token, if the police say the building is safe, then it is safe.

That being said, I want to answer the most common questions I received today:

  1. Why weren’t the students evacuated?

    a. The police need to control the scene and minimize confusion to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. First and foremost, moving students outside creates more chaos, not less. Second, moving kids outside impedes our ability to keep track of them – particularly high school kids, some of whom have cars on campus.

    Assuming that there is no credible threat -- as the police quickly determined this morning -- keeping students in a central, secure location while they continue their investigation is the safest approach, and allows for the greatest accountability.

    So, we do not automatically move kids outside anymore. Again, we rely on the judgment of our law enforcement partners. In this case, their directive was to keep the students inside, and secure and lock down the school.
  2. Why were dogs in the building?

    a. Purely coincidentally, we had also scheduled a drug search today. We’ve been conducting such searches for several years as part of our normal safety procedures. These are conducted randomly, and obviously we don’t announce them to students to ensure that they’re as effective as possible. Dogs are used to conduct these searches.

    (FYI: No drugs were found, either.)

    b. As well, the police use bomb-sniffing dogs as part of their bomb threat response.

During searches of either kind, the school is locked down so that the dogs can work without distraction and, again, to allow the police to control the scene and minimize chaos and confusion.

We know that this procedure may seem odd on its face, and we apologize for any confusion, concern, or inconvenience it may have caused. But our top concern is the safety of our children and staff.

Our protocol has been carefully and thoroughly created by experts to ensure that safety. We are fortunate to have good relationships with the several local police agencies that serve District 303 and we count on them to help us.

Have a great spring break,

Tom Hernandez
Director of Communications
Community Unit School District 303


The Citizens for Excellence in Education committee is exploring the option of contesting the results from Tuesday’s election, in which the District 303 building referendum failed by 135 votes.

The CEE committee is gathering information to help guide its eventual decision.

Anyone who could not vote Tuesday because of mechanical breakdowns at their polling place should go to the CEE committee website at and fill out the form available on the front page of the website.

***Please do not continue to send emails to District 303.***