Park Forest police investigating teacher placed on leave
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org September 24, 2012 6:48PM
Updated: October 26, 2012 2:16PM
Park Forest police on Monday confirmed they were investigating a Rich East High School teacher who was placed on administrative leave after allegations surfaced last week about “inappropriate conduct” by the teacher involving a recent graduate of the school.
Deputy Chief Mike McNamara refused to comment beyond confirming the investigation.
Rich Township High School District 227 launched its own investigation last week and said it was cooperating with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The district said no formal charges have been filed against the faculty member, who has not been identified.
Supt. Donna Simpson Leak said the allegations came to light at the end of the school day Sept. 17, when another student at Rich East told a teacher at the school about the alleged inappropriate conduct, which occurred when the recent graduate was a student at Rich East, Leak said in the statement. The teacher was placed on leave with pay.
“We moved swiftly,” District 227 board member Sheila Friday said Monday. “We’re going to make sure we won’t tolerate that behavior from anyone.”
The suspension of the teacher was announced just three days after former Rich Central varsity girls basketball coach and counselor Bryan Craig was fired by the board after penning a racy self-help book that included his opinions on the anatomical differences of vaginas between women of various races.
Craig on Sunday filed a $1 million lawsuit against the district, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.
The district also faces a lawsuit filed in 2010 by a former student who alleged a former Rich South High School teacher sexually assaulted him.
Board president Betty Owens refused to comment on the suspended teacher or the lawsuits but conceded they were a distraction.
“Naturally, any disruption is disturbing, but that’s all I can say,” Owens said.