The entrance of Chicago Christian High School in Palos Heights
Palos Heights police are investigating allegations of inappropriate sexual contact between a female teacher and at least one male student at Chicago Christian High School.
According to published reports, the woman may have had sexual contact, or shared sexual content, with as many as six male students.
“We became aware of the allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct on Saturday, April 1,” said Southwest Chicago Christian Schools Superintendent Henry Doorn Jr. on Monday. “We immediately called and met with the Palos Heights Police Department. On Sunday, we suspended the faculty member indefinitely. Last Monday we communicated that to our students and sent a letter to the parents. We also provided a brief update on Friday.”
“We are not making public how we learned about it, or the letter we sent to parents,” said Doorn, who oversees the school at 12001 S Oak Park Ave., as well as two elementary schools in Oak Lawn and Tinley Park.
“It has saddened us, what has happened, and how it has affected the students and the school community,” said Doorn, confirming that multiple students may have been involved.
“On Tuesday, we had professional counselors here, during advisory periods, which gave them the chance to talk to students in smaller groups,” said Doorn, who encouraged any students who feel that they have been victimized by the teacher to contact the school or police.
“The Palos Heights police are handling the investigation,” said Doorn.
“There is an active investigation. No charges have been filed yet,” confirmed Palos Heights Det. Sgt. Mike Yot said Monday.
“We’re in a fact-gathering stage. We’re trying to separate fact from fiction,” said Yot. “I don’t suspect it will be a very quick process.”
He said that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has also opened its own investigation.
“It’s distressing,” said a father waiting to pick up his son after school on Monday afternoon. The man, who requested anonymity to protect his son’s privacy, said he would have preferred if parents were informed before students were told about the situation during an all-school assembly on April 3. He said the letter was sent to parents later the same day.
“I thought that was the wrong way to do it. I wish the parents had been told first. But they’ve sent two or three emails since then. It wasn’t just one student. We heard as many as six could be involved,” he said.
“I don’t necessarily hold it against the school. I see this as an unstable individual. If they didn’t know about it, I wouldn’t hold it against them. But it’s a small school and I’m afraid it will probably affect enrollment,” said the father.
According to the school’s website, there are currently 342 students at Chicago Christian.
The man said he heard the woman involved was a Spanish teacher, something Doorn said he could “neither confirm nor deny.”
“If my son didn’t like this school so much, I would consider moving him elsewhere. Coincidentally, what he likes most about it is the teachers,” said the father.
Anyone wishing to contact police with information about the case may call 708-448-5060.