Nichols Middle School in early March 2022. Credit: Duncan Agnew

A Nichols Middle School student, who was one of multiple students allegedly involved in the sexual assault of another student, became physically aggressive and injured a district staff member during a police investigation at the school building on Thursday, May 5, Principal Marcus J. Wright wrote in an email to the Nichols community Thursday afternoon. 

The student “became extremely verbally upset” during a conversation with District 65 administrators about the alleged sexual assault, and Evanston Police Department officers eventually put the student in handcuffs “to prevent any further injury to school staff and police officers,” according to Wright’s email. An ambulance then transported the student to the hospital for further support.

The alleged sexual assault of a current Nichols student “did involve other Nichols students,” but the incident occurred off campus outside of regular school hours and is still under investigation by Evanston police, Wright wrote.

According to the email, administrators learned about the alleged assault earlier Thursday and notified the Evanston Police Department, which sent an officer to the school. Wright also said administrators learned Thursday that “there is a video currently circulating among students related to the [alleged sexual assault] incident.”

Wright wrote in his email to the Nichols community that district administrators and Evanston police began their investigation Thursday by speaking to “all students potentially involved and their families.”

During the altercation between the student and a staff member, Nichols entered a soft lockdown, also known as a “Secure & Teach,” which lasted approximately 15 minutes, Wright wrote. No one can enter or exit the school building during a soft lockdown, though teaching and classes can continue as scheduled.

EPD dispatched more officers to Nichols after the staff member sustained an injury and the student was handcuffed, but the email did not provide any further information on the injured staff member.

EPD Commander Ryan Glew told the RoundTable that the handcuffed student was not arrested or taken into custody. Officers and school administrators on the scene at the time decided that calling an ambulance for the student was the best way to proceed for the safety of all parties involved, according to Glew. He added that EPD and Nichols leadership determined that handcuffs were necessary for the security of themselves and the rest of the students.

Thus far, no students have been charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault investigation, Glew said. EPD would not comment on the number of students involved or their ages.

“We know this news is extremely upsetting. Nothing is more important than the safety of all members of our school community,” Wright said in his email. “We will continue to work as a team to identify next steps and additional support so that students all feel safe and welcome at Nichols and can fully focus on their education.”

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...

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  1. If “nothing is more important than the safety of all members of our school community,” then why after multiple physical attacks and assaults like this one, do the schools continue with the same tired tropes (e.g. “deescalation”) while refusing to impose any discipline on the offenders such as expulsion, and refuse to allow police as school resource officers in every school?

  2. A city (and it’s middle schools) get the government and the crime rate it deserves, meaning we as a collective people in Evanston have chosen to look the other way and allow crime to proliferate. Whether for the sake of some silly ideology or virtue signaling. We’ve decided that not hurting peoples feelings if they come from certain backgrounds is more important to us than our children’s safety and quality of life and schools – nice job Evanston!