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Statement from District 65 Interim Superintendents

October 23, 2019

 

Over the past two weeks, Principal Kathy Roberson has communicated with the Haven Middle School community about a report we received on Monday, October 7 that a staff member engaged in inappropriate conduct toward a student during school hours on the previous school day—Friday, October 4.

 

We were shocked and deeply distressed to learn this. Our immediate concern was and continues to be to support this student in every way possible and do all we can to make sure all of our students and staff are safe. The District also immediately notified both the Evanston Police Department and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), who both initiated investigations. The staff member(s) who may have been involved in this serious incident were immediately placed on leave and have not returned to the school pending the outcome of the police investigation.

 

Today, the District and a number of other parties in the community received a letter hand-delivered by an attorney representing the student and their family. The letter states that the student was sexually assaulted on school grounds by a custodian. The District had not previously shared these details in order to protect the privacy of the student involved and the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigations.

 

The District has and will continue to cooperate with the Police and DCFS in their ongoing investigations of this matter. Law enforcement authorities and the District will take necessary and appropriate actions against anyone found to be responsible at the conclusion of those investigations.

 

The safety and security of our students, staff, and schools is and always will be of the highest priority. We conduct fingerprint-based criminal background checks and cross-reference against state and national sexual and violent offender registries as a part of our pre-employment process. We maintain active video monitoring systems in all District 65 schools and we are looking at any other best practices to strengthen the safety in our schools at all times.

 

We regularly encourage students to talk with their classroom teacher, school administrators and/or District mental health professionals if they have concerns for their own safety or that of others.

 

We understand that this news is very concerning. Parents, staff or community members with questions about District 65’s practices regarding such matters should contact the Superintendent’s Office at 847-859-8011.

 

Dr. Phil Ehrhardt and Dr. Heidi Wennstrom

Interim Superintendents