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Illinois system fails to protect students from abuse

August 26, 2013

Original Article By Diane Rado and Christy Gutowski, Chicago Tribune reporters


August 25, 2013

 

Published on chicagotribune.com with contributions by SESAME President, Terri Miller

 

Chemistry teacher and cheerleading coach Mark Krockover was reprimanded over his conduct toward female students, but it took several years before Maine Township High School District 207 tried to fire him.

 

The school board cited "immoral and cruel conduct," alleging Krockover rubbed the legs, thighs and backs of girls, caressed their arms and shoulders and kissed them on the head, causing many to quit cheerleading. He allegedly emailed and texted students, visited some at their jobs and even bought some girls bikinis and designer jeans, records state.

 

Ultimately, Krockover, 43, of Park Ridge, was allowed to resign. The school district paid him $60,000 as part of his "resignation agreement," stored disciplinary records in a confidential file and agreed to tell future employers he resigned for "personal reasons," according to district records.

 

In March 2011 — more than three years after his resignation and after repeated delays and legal challenges — the state suspended Krockover's license to teach for 30 months. He will be eligible to return to the classroom this fall.

 

The state's system of licensing, hiring and disciplining educators is supposed to bar teachers involved in misconduct from the classroom. But thousands of pages of court and police records, state and local documents and personnel files obtained by the Tribune reveal breakdowns in protecting students.

The shortcomings — including secrecy, hiring loopholes, communication lapses, lax background checks and delays in disciplinary action — have allowed some educators involved in improper, and in some cases criminal, conduct to stay in classrooms or get other jobs that provide access to students, the newspaper found.

 

Read the rest of the original article here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-teachers-revoked-20130825,0,4127824,full.story

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