Both the D207 school board president and the president of the Maine Teachers Association addressed the Maine West High School hazing controversy and associated lawsuit at the regularly scheduled board meeting Monday night.
Their statements are attached to this article as .pdf files.
Board President Sean Sullivan issued a lengthy statement on the hazing allegations that have engulfed the community. They are spotlighted by the as part of a hazing ritual.
This was followed by additional litigation regarding incidents that go back several years.
D-207 Board: Administrators did not know until last month
Sullivan noted proper authorities have been looking into all matters related to hazing since the district administration received word of them earlier this semester.
“The Board and Administration acted quickly and appropriately after receiving all reports regarding this matter, including our immediate notification of Des Plaines police and the (Illinois) Department of Children and Family Services in September of this year,” Sullivan said.
“Implications that current executive-level District Administrators knew about a 2008 hazing incident before November of this year and did not act, are not supported by the facts. The 2008 incident remains a part of the District’s investigation.”
DCFS gets Cook County State's Attorney involved
However, DCFS took action Monday (Dec. 3) on that very matter.
DCFS released a statement that read in part, “(DCFS) has referred allegations, reported in numerous media outlets, that one or more school district employees of Maine Township High School District 207 knew of alleged abuse or neglect as early as 2007 to the Cook County State’s Attorney to determine whether Illinois’ Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act was violated and take action if warranted.”
Dave Beery, D-207 communications director, noted, “We haven’t talked to DCFS directly but we will fully continue to cooperate with any external official organization.”
Teachers union says this has been painful
Mike Poehler, the teachers union president, released a statement as well centering on the theme that students' safety is the primary concern.
“This entire matter has been devastating to students, teachers, parents, our school district and community,” Poehler indicated. “It is our hope that it is investigated thoroughly and fairly, and that the eventual outcomes will support an even more secure and safe environment for students and everyone else in the school community.”
In Sullivan’s address to fellow board members and some parents and students in the room, he echoed many of the sentiments expressed in Friday’s letter to the community issued by Superintendent Ken Wallace maintaining District 207 has multiple programs in place to prevent bullying and hazing.
“This commitment is essential to ensure the civility and mutual respect that is vital to a quality education and a positive learning environment for all students,” Sullivan said.
The matter was not addressed in open session by any of the trustees nor were there any questions or comments by those in the audience.