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Owens: SD 227 board awaits results of inquiry into staffer’s book

Rich Township High School District 227 Board President Betty Owens  answers reporters questions about boards procedure determining future guidance

Rich Township High School District 227 Board President Betty Owens answers reporters questions about the boards procedure in determining the future of guidance counselor Bryan Craig at the District 227 Administrative Center in Matteson, Illinois, Tuesday, September 4, 2012. Craig wrote a self-published book containing sexual stereotypes of various ethnic groups. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 10, 2012 6:16AM



As president of the Rich Township High School District 227 Board and a lifelong supporter of public education, I have high expectations for the teachers and staff serving our children and their families.

The recent publication of a controversial book authored by Bryan Craig, a guidance counselor at Rich Central High School and coach of the school’s girls basketball team, falls far short of my expectations and evokes outrage for me and many others in this district due to its offensive content regarding women and sex.

Since first learning of Craig writing this book, the school board’s top priority has been the safety and protection of our students and preserving the teaching and learning environment in our schools.

District 227 Supt. Donna Simpson Leak immediately notified board members and launched a comprehensive internal investigation to determine whether district policy was violated and to identify whether any district resources and/or other staff members were involved in this matter. We also immediately engaged legal counsel to guide us in the investigation and our handling of this matter.

Soon after our investigation began, Mr. Craig resigned from his position as basketball coach. As our investigation proceeded, the district placed Mr. Craig on paid administrative leave from his guidance counselor position.

He will remain on administrative leave as our investigation continues. During this time, Mr. Craig will not have contact with students and is not allowed on District 227 property.

Supt. Leak has displayed strong leadership in the handling of this matter — delicately balancing the community’s concern with the requirements of Illinois law and District 227’s policies regarding tenured staff.

We share our community’s expectation for the highest level of professionalism and sound judgment from the people whom they entrust with their children each day. We take seriously our responsibility to serve as stewards of the academic integrity of the school district.

On Sept. 18, the school board will receive a final report, detailing the results of our law firm’s investigation.

At that time, we will take action on this matter and will communicate relevant information to our District 227 parents, staff and community.

Betty Owens is president of the Rich Township High School District 227 Board.



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