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Kherat: District 150 Implements Safety Plan After Friday Fracas At Peoria HS

Kristin McHugh/WCBU

Peoria Public Schools superintendent Dr. Sharon Kherat says things are getting back to normal at Peoria High School following last Friday's chaos.

Kherat said multiple fights broke out simultaneously after a fire alarm was falsely pulled.

"The bottom line is, you know, it's stuff that's out in the community, disagreements, and it just, you know, because we have a large group of kids, it just erupted on Friday," Kherat said on Monday. "And that was shocking, and just a really bad day. But, you know, unfortunately, sometimes, that happens. Very, very unfortunately."

Kherat said the students involved in Friday's incident comprise a "very, very small group."

Over the weekend, the Peoria Police Department announced seven juveniles and two adults were detained in connection with the Friday incident. The case is still under investigation.

As some families opted to take advantage of remote learning on Monday, Kherat said the students involved won't be coming back to Peoria High this year.

"I think people are kind of monitoring, but those who are back, they're ready and they're learning. They're doing their work into various subjects. And teachers are teaching and and their kids are learning," Kherat said. "So we still have some that are, I think, just monitoring. I would like them to know it's safe and we would like them to come back."

Kherat said police debriefed her team about the situation again early Monday morning, as district staff and law enforcement put into place a heightened safety plan drafted over the weekend. Specific details about that plan weren't shared with WCBU.

She arrived at Peoria High School at 6:45 a.m. Monday and planned to remain on site throughout the school day.

Peoria High students started off the morning by reflecting and talking about what transpired on Friday to clear the air, Kherat said. Then they were ready to learn.

"We have here at Peoria Public Schools, Peoria High — all of our schools — we have something we call indomitable spirit. And so, you know, we will get up, we've gotten up and we're plugging away and (I'm) just very, very proud of them," she said.

Kherat said the district is prepared to pivot to alter the safety plan, if need be. But she said as of Monday, the building was "as quiet as a mouse."

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.