Hillside Officials Demand Apology from Proviso School District 209 Superintendent

Published on December 11, 2021

Date: December 11, 2021

Concerning: Hillside Officials Demand Apology from Proviso School District 209 Superintendent

Contact: Hillside Police Chief Joseph Lukaszek at (708) 426-3086

Mayor Joseph Tamburino and Hillside Police Chief Joseph Lukaszek are strongly criticizing the reprehensible actions of an individual who was serving as a non-certified Proviso West SRO (School Resource Officer).

A video was taken by a student in a Proviso West Civics Honors Class of a school security officer without provocation, confronting an honors student and then viscously attacking said student. This non-certified individual was employed by Proviso School District 209 at the time of the incident and never was or is an employee of the Hillside Police Department. In fact, this individual serves as a part time officer in training for the Phoenix, Illinois Police Department.

The Mayor and Police Chief went on to denounce Proviso School District Superintendent Henderson’s statement that left the impression that this individual was a Hillside Police Officer. They also objected to the Superintendent’s line that stated, “The behavior exhibited by the SRO is consistent with what we see flash across our TV screens almost daily – with Black and Brown young men being targets of police officers.” It should be noted this non-certified security officer is African American which negates the Superintendent’s underlying message that this is another example of police officers being driven by racial prejudice in the beating of this student.

It should also be noted that this individual has been employed by Proviso School District 209 for several years and the school never completed a thorough background check to verify credentials required for that position.

According to The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board hiring School Resource Officer in a school there are several key issues that should be addressed.
• Background requirements or suggested expertise for employing law enforcement in the school setting, including an understanding of child and adolescent development.
• Professional development requirements for the SRO, including training requirements that focus on age-appropriate practices for conflict resolution and developmentally informed de-escalation and crisis intervention methods.
• Clearly defined roles, responsibilities, expectations, and directive control of the parties involved, including school resource officers, other law enforcement personnel, school administrators, staff, and teachers.
• A protocol for how suspected criminal activity versus school discipline is to be handled.
• Any other discretionary items determined by the parties to foster a School Resource Officer program that builds positive relationships between law enforcement, school staff, and the students, promotes a safe and positive learning environment.

Chief Lukaszek stated, “Our Hillside Police Officers assigned to Proviso West have never acted in such a manner as this non-certified security person exhibited in this video that has gone viral. We are constantly providing sensitivity training to our officers to avoid such situations. The Hillside Police Department’s policy is based on the premise that all persons whether he or she regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual orientation; and religious denomination be treated with dignity and respect.

Mayor Tamburino and Police Chief Lukaszek are asking for an apology from Superintendent Henderson for his statement that left the impression that the Hillside Police Department were the culprits in this unfortunate situation.

Mayor Tamburino stated, “Proviso West and the Village of Hillside have enjoyed a wonderful relationship for the past 50 plus years and I look forward to our continued partnership.”

Related News from the Police Department