Crowds pack Elmwood Park High School to criticize district's response to student bringing gun to school

More than 300 people packed Elmwood Park High School’s gymnasium on Wednesday, including students, parents and at least 100 District 401 staff members, to voice concerns about safety at the school.

During public comments, 21 people addressed the board criticizing the district’s handling of a recent situation where a 17-year-old student allegedly brought a loaded gun and knife into the school.

Attendees demanded transparency, and they asked for school resource officers to be placed back inside the building.


Speakers also called out school leadership for poor communication.

"Elmwood Park, your bar should be ‘better safe than sorry,’ not 'sorry thank goodness we're safe,'" one speaker said.

Last week, police say a 17-year-old student brought a loaded "ghost gun" and knife into the school building.

Head of security told FOX 32 exclusively that he was told the student had a vape pen, which the officer said put many lives in danger.

The student left the building still armed, but was eventually arrested by police and charged.

Parents, teachers and students also criticized the district for not placing the school on lockdown.

Here’s what school board president Frank Parisi said about the issue:

"The district shared what [they] legally could about the situation. Immediately, law enforcement and schools leaders began investigations into what happened. During an ongoing investigation, law enforcement takes the lead and the district full cooperates."

Parents and teachers also asked for metal detectors at the school, bag pat downs, and wands to be used.

FOX 32 spoke to a student who was adamant that change is needed. We asked her what the hardest thing was about this whole process.

"Probably finding out a student walked through the halls for five periods with a gun in their possession – just knowing that. And to see how the administrators react is very upsetting. I think we need change, we need new people in charge, we need new administrators, and I believe it would be most appropriate if some of the administrators were to resign after this incident."