SOUTH HOLLAND | A village resident is concerned if police will increase security at Thornwood High School football games if the school proceeds with plans to play some games at night.
Thornton Township High School District 205 officials earlier this year approved installation of light towers at the football stadiums at its three schools in Harvey, Dolton and South Holland.
That has Jackie Franklin concerned, since she lives less than two blocks from the South Holland high school, whose football/track stadium abuts a residential neighborhood.
She said the current situation of all day games on Saturday afternoons creates enough problems when students leave the stadium and wander into the surrounding neighborhood, where their boisterous attitude sometimes results in fights near her home.
“Those crowds spill over into the neighborhood and children fight during the day,” Franklin said. “We don’t know how bad it would get at night.”
Franklin was at the Village Board meeting Monday to ask village officials what additional security measures would be taken to control crowds for any night games played by Thornwood.
She also asked village President Don DeGraff what reasons he had for giving his support to the concept of night games, only to learn from DeGraff that neither he nor any other village official has endorsed the idea.
While DeGraff said he is not outright opposed to the idea of night games at Thornwood, he said, “It is worthy of exploration and discussion.” But he added he does not believe it appropriate for the village to take a stand on the issue.
“I don’t think it’s my opinion that matters, but it is what the board of District 205, the administration and the parents want,” DeGraff said.
Earlier this year, District 205 officials said they took a survey showing 57 percent of those questioned favored the idea of having stadium lights installed.
For her part, Franklin said she plans to attend the District 205 board meeting Wednesday to ask about this issue, since she said that school board President Kenneth Williams had told her that the mayors or village presidents of Dolton, Harvey and South Holland had all expressed support for the idea.
DeGraff conceded he has discussed the issue with Williams and was asked for his opinion, but called those talks “informal discussions.”
In other business, the Village Board voted 6-0 in favor of a measure authorizing the hiring of a new officer for the Police Department.
Trustee N. Keith Chambers said the vacancy was created when an officer recently left the department. The new police officer will be chosen from a list of applicants who already have taken a qualifying exam.