327. District 220 Tightens Security at All Schools for Holiday Events

4 mins read

Security at Barrington’s schools has been at the forefront of conversations among District 220 administrators this week.  The District sent an email on Wednesday, urging families to “keep calm” as you notice “stringent security measures” for holiday events at all schools and the district is thanking area police for their visible presence at schools following last Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Increased Police Presence at District 220 Schools - Courtesy of D220
Increased Police Presence at District 220 Schools – Facebook.com/Barrington220

Superintendent, Dr. Tom Leonard, met with district administrators earlier this week to discuss plans to review safety procedures and protocols at all Barrington schools.

Post - Tom Leonard Discusses Sandy Hook Shooting with District 220 Administrators
Dr. Leonard Meeting with District 220 Administrators this Week – Courtesy of Dr. Jeff Arnett

Dr. Leonard says he has heard from a number of concerned District 220 parents with questions about local school safety since Friday’s tragedy.

“The general tone is people are worried because, when they see something like this happen, they do realize that it could happen anywhere…

Dr. Tom Leonard
Dr. Tom Leonard

“With most of the emails we received, the parents do realize that at least we are proactive in doing drills and we do have good communication devices and procedures we use when people visit the buildings.  They also understand that there are some things we are not capable of preventing.”


“But right now law enforcement across the nation is at heightened alert and has its eyes on schools.  You also have staff members and principals watching everything closer than ever before.”

To assure parents that steps are being taken to assess and increase security at Barrington’s schools, District 220 leaders have been on-the-spot, with emails like this one, this one, and this one sent out to district families since the shooting.  They canceled a dance at Barrington High School over the weekend due to a rumored threat and they increased security at Barrington schools this week.

Messages from District 220 Email
Headlines from Barrington 220 School District Email

When we spoke on Monday, Dr. Leonard told me that, though many questions remain about the Newtown shooting, there are lessons to be learned locally and steps we can all take to better protect our kids.  He started with an assurance that the District is currently revisiting Barrington school security with local law enforcement officials.

“We don’t say in a public way how we are changing our procedures and protocols, but we will review them again to see what we can learn from this event that might make us safer.”

District 220 Administrators Discussing School Safety this Week – Courtesy of Dr. Jeff Arnett

But the most important thing I will remember from my conversation with Dr. Leonard is his strong reminder that the answer does not lie solely on the shoulders of our schools, police and policy makers.   He says, when it comes to keeping schools safe, we all play a vital role.

Dr. Tom Leonard
Dr. Tom Leonard

“I think in general as a society it’s very important that if you recognize someone who is in distress or someone who is not thinking clearly, you make it known to others who can potentially be of help.”

“We tell our students that, if you see something like a kid being a bully or if you hear about a weapon, not to be a bystander or keep that information to yourself.  The same thing needs to be happening in other places.”

“Our community members, students, kids and parents, they all need to be our eyes and ears and let police and school officials know if there’s a threat out there.”

And though being “eyes and ears” won’t eliminate our fears or ease the suffering we know is happening in Newtown, Dr. Leonard says, it’s something small we can all pledge to do daily as part of the solution moving forward.

“I would say going on with life is something we need to do, and schools do need to be in session.  We really do not have any choice other than to keep living our lives while being as vigilant as possible.”


Here is a list of local resources that Dr. Leonard recommends we reach out to if we ever have concerns about individuals who may pose threats to themselves or our community.

Administrators, Counselors or Social Workers at any Barrington 220 School

You’ll find a wealth of information about District 220 school administrators, faculty and a list of Social/Emotional resources on their website at Barrington220.org.

All Barrington Area Police Departments

Village of Barrington:
Phone:  847-304-0300 & Website:  Barrington-IL.gov

South Barrington:
Phone:  847-381-7511 & Website:  SouthBarrington.org/PoliceServices

Barrington Hills:
Phone:  847-551-3006 & Website:  VBHPD.net

Lake Barrington – Law Enforcement Through Lake County Sheriff
Phone: 847-549-5200   & Website:  LakeCountyIL.gov

North Barrington:  Law Enforcement Through Lake County Sheriff
Phone: 847-549-5200   & Website:  LakeCountyIL.gov

Tower Lakes:  Phone:  847-526-3800 & Website:  VillageofTowerLakes.com

Deer Park:  Law Enforcement Through Lake County Sheriff
Phone: 847-549-5200   & Website:  LakeCountyIL.gov

Barrington Youth and Family Services

BYFS is a community-based, non-profit social service agency, providing comprehensive family counseling, youth outreach and prevention programming for Barrington area youth and their families.

Phone:  847-381-0345

HERE in Barrington

The H.E.R.E. in “HERE in Barrington” stands for Help, Encouragement, Resources and Education.  HERE is a coalition of youth, parents, and community members dedicated to providing help, encouragement, resources, and education to promote positive mental health and reduce the occurrence of suicide and other harmful behavior.

Phone:  800-273-8255
Website:  HereInBarrington.org

Samaritan Counseling Center

Headquartered in Barrington with additional locations in Crystal Lake, McHenry and Cary, the Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs offers “excellence in professional counseling, consulting and education by embracing faith, hope and wholeness.”

Phone:  847-381-4673
Website:  SCCNW.org

IL Dept. of Children & Family Services

DCFS has the primary responsibility of protecting children and strengthening families through the investigation and intervention of suspected child abuse or neglect by parents and other caregivers.

Info & Assistance Hotline:  800-232-3798
Youth Hotline:  800-232-3798
Website:  State.IL.US/DCFS

And lastly, if you’d like to help the families impacted by Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, one way is to CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

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