Evanston RoundTable
District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton addresses Haven parents and teachers on a Tuesday evening Zoom call. (Screenshot)

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

After multiple student fights in recent weeks sent staff members at Haven Middle School to the hospital, and many parents complained about poor communication from administrators at this week’s District 65 School Board meeting, Haven Principal Chris Latting hosted an online meeting with parents Tuesday night to address concerns about the school’s climate and culture.

In addition to Latting and Haven’s assistant principals, Superintendent Devon Horton and District 65 Educators’ Council President Maria Barroso, among others, were present for the Zoom call. More than 250 parents and teachers attended. Several parents and even a Haven student spoke on the call, asking how officials will deal with violent, abusive behaviors by some students.

One Haven student said on the call that walking through the halls between classes she sometimes feels unsafe. She posed a simple question to administrators: “I just want to know when you think I’ll feel safe again.” 

Latting said he could not answer that question for the specific student, but he told her that he hopes she sees change “quite quickly,” and encouraged her to have conversations about safety with her parents and administrators. 

Bill Gould (left) and Jerry Herst hold up a sign calling on Chase Bank to divest from fossil fuels. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Local Jewish leaders organized a Climate Action Rally on Wednesday at Fountain Square calling on Chase Bank to divest from fossil fuels.

“Move your dough!” about 30 demonstrators shouted, alluding to the matzah they were clutching in their hands but also to the billions of dollars they said Chase Bank invests in fossil fuels.

The unleavened bread symbolizes urgency, a feeling that also characterizes the need for climate action, said attendee Sally Nador, a member of Congregation Hakafa.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 32 new cases were reported Tuesday, April 19, the last day the city updated totals. The seven-day average is 30.4 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

The interior of the Zen Leaf marijuana dispensary on Maple Avenue. (Photo by Duncan Agnew)

Guest essay: It’s 4/20 and I’m feeling late to the party. In honor of the April 20 weed holiday, the RoundTable’s Wendi Kromash visited a cannabis dispensary. “For the sake of story research, Tuesday night I ingested a marijuana gummy,” she writes. “I don’t remember the last time I slept so soundly for as long.”

Evanston Police investigate downtown shooting. At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, Evanston Police responded to the 1500 block of Sherman Avenue for a report of a person shot. During the police response, the victim, a 21-year-old Niles man, walked a block to the Evanston Police Department lobby. He was then transported to Evanston Hospital where he was admitted with non-life-threatening injuries.

Lower Yosemite Falls. (Photo from Yosemitehikes.com)

Les Jacobson: America the beautiful. This week is National Park Week and the photo above left our columnist grateful about the natural beauty of our nation and the sense of community we share in Evanston.

Housing subcommittee hits impasse on rental licensing program. At their April 14 meeting members of the city Planning & Development Housing subcommittee debated whether to recommend adoption of a landlord licensing program or go with other measures for now, such as more aggressive enforcement, to address housing concerns.

Learn to decode messages in the stars at NU’s Astronomy Night Out this Friday. Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics will host the inaugural CIERA Astronomy Night Out from 7 to 9:15 p.m Friday in Lutkin Memorial Hall, 700 University Place.

Downtown Evanston is blooming with springtime events. Downtown Evanston is launching a “Flower Power” promotion to inspire positive energy and good vibes during the transition into spring. Building on the themes of peace, harmony and nonviolence, the campaign will feature floral-themed installations in businesses, shopping and dining specials and creative workshops.

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Around the web

From Foster to Family Focus: More than a century of District 65 decisions in the 5th Ward. The Daily Northwestern tracks the history of the Foster School in the Fifth Ward from its 1905 opening to its closing in 1979 and the school board’s approval this year of a new Fifth Ward neighborhood school.

Amid Russia’s ongoing invasion, Northwestern finds ways to support Ukrainian students and scholars. The university’s Buffett Institute for Global Affairs is working with other programs across Northwestern and around the nation to launch initiatives aiding students and scholars affected by the Russian war in Ukraine.

The judge who tossed mask mandate misunderstood public health law, legal experts say. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle on April 17 threw out a federal mandate requiring masks on public transit and airplanes, arguing that face coverings do not count as a form of “sanitation.” Several law professors told NPR that Mizelle’s legal reasoning seemed shaky.

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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...