Students and parents protest outside Stevenson High School

Friday’s school day at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire began with around 40 parents and 50 students protesting on the campus at Route 22 and Stevenson Drive.

The protest began around 8:30 a.m. As the morning unfolded, protesters, who want students to have the choice of wearing face coverings inside the school, moved from Route 22 to Point at the front of the school’s west building.

According to Supt. Eric Twaddel and Principal Troy Gobble in a letter to parents, the school began to receive several reports of students feeling scared and unsafe. They added that some students were verbally assaulted by protesting parents and students as they entered and left the building during a morning shift. Additionally, Twaddel and Gobble said staff saw parents and students knocking on windows near the Point entrance.

Throughout the morning, Stevenson staff worked closely with the Lincolnshire Police Department to monitor protesters and ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff. Police also helped keep the flow of students moving during busy times and personally escorted students attempting to enter or exit the building safely.

Stevenson’s masking and quarantine requirements remain in place despite a Sangamon County judge ruling on Friday, Feb. 4 on parents’ and employees’ requests for temporary restraining orders regarding mitigation strategies of COVID-19 in Illinois schools.

The lawsuits were filed against 145 Illinois school districts and sought to invalidate the governor’s mask mandate and quarantine requirements. Additionally, the lawsuits seek to invalidate the need to require vaccinations and/or testing for staff.

Stevenson was not named in the lawsuit and therefore the orders do not apply to Stevenson. A motion has been filed for a stay of the decision to be in place while the decision is appealed. The governor has indicated that it will be appealed. As this case continues to work its way through the court system and Stevenson is not a party to these lawsuits, district officials said the masking and quarantine requirements will remain in place for the time being.

“Although the protest from parents and students has been relatively small, we know that many of our students

witnessed or later learned of the events this morning,” officials said in a Feb. 11 statement. “We understand that these events may cause some students to feel anxious or confused, or they may simply want to talk to a trusted adult about what happened. . As always, members of our Student Services Division are available for students.

Communications director Jaimie Oh said no arrests were made and no one was punished. She added that no damage was reported to school property.

Support local news by subscribing to Journal & Topics in print or online.

Jeremy S. McLain