Barrington cops, schools to share information
Barrington officials on Monday signed an agreement with Barrington Unit District 220 acknowledging that police and school staff will share relevant information with each other regarding criminal activity by students on or off school property.
Barrington Village Manager Jeff Lawler said the agreement merely formalizes a practice already followed by both agencies.
The benefits of the agreement run both ways, Lawler said. For one, police ought to be brought in immediately if a criminal offense is committed by a student on school property during the school day.
"There are also things that happen outside of school that the schools should be made aware of," Lawler added.
District 220 Superintendent Tom Leonard said the agreement is meant to determine whether any nexus of criminal activity is related to the school district, for the protection of either the student body or the general public.
If a student has been arrested on charges of drug possession or weapons outside of school, for instance, it's in the district's best interest to be aware of that and on the lookout for problems at school, Leonard said.
On the other hand, the school district should be notifying police in case a problem that starts bubbling at the school level could end up having ramifications outside of school, he said.
While student bullying has been looked at more seriously over the past decade, there still needs to be a judgment call as to whether certain behavior is criminal or not, Leonard said. One third grader pushing another in line is probably not something that requires police notification, he added.
The agreement between Barrington and District 220 is the only one the school district has, though it also has elementary schools in Barrington Hills, Carpentersville, North Barrington and South Barrington. However, Barrington is the site of Barrington High School and both of the district's middle school campuses, Lawler said. This type of agreement is probably of more use where older students are, he added.
Leonard said it's believed police departments already share relevant information among themselves. The new agreement just brings the district into that loop.