Illinois school district, parents form new partnership to defuse tensions

Parents and school officials in Chicago's western suburbs have formed a new partnership designed to keep students at local high schools on their best behavior.

Tuesday saw the launch of "Parents on Patrol" at Proviso schools, where 52 volunteers have signed on to hit the hallways to help keep schools safer.

Recent incidents, including one last month at Proviso East that led to police being called to the school, had the administration concerned about a growing number of fights and angry confrontations.


"The fighting is just a symptom of what's really going on," said James Henderson, Superintendent of Schools at Proviso Township High School District 209. "And so our scholars are having a conversation with me during my advisory to find out what's really going on and they just poured out to me about what is happening and how this pandemic has impacted them. Based on that, Parents on Patrol was born."

With students stressed out and fuses short, the idea is to bring parents into the high schools to help defuse the tension and keep the students on task.

"We put the call out there and this community just galvanized to help Proviso. So the parents were very receptive. We have trained over 52 parents at this time. We completed background checks and we are ready to go," Henderson said.

Volunteer Jackie Foster couldn't wait to start Parent Patrol at Proviso West High School Tuesday morning.

"We need to uplift our students and encourage them to do well and to and to give them some type of peace, peace in the school," Foster said. "Sometimes they can come to a parent and talk to them rather than go to one of the staff members. I'm very excited because I know that some of the students here need the support of outsiders."

There are 5,600 students between the three schools in the district - Proviso East, Proviso West and the Proviso Math and Science Academy. Henderson says the schools can use all the volunteers they can get to work two to three-hour shifts in the morning during arrival, at lunch, in the afternoon and after school.

Students say it can get tense when the halls fill, but some think parents can help bring some calm.


"I feel a lot of students hold their composure and respect the parents. Respect the adults. I think I do feel a lot safer and I'm happy they're here," said Proviso West senior Jessica Flores.

Oxavionne Bryant, also a senior added, "It gives the parents a chance to connect with the students," and to better understand what they deal with at school.