In an effort to move beyond what is turning into a protracted battle, District 103 Superintendent Dr. Raymond Lauk has withdrawn the most recent harassment allegation filed against board Secretary Stephen Mazur.
This latest allegation came less than a month after Mazur was found guilty by the District 103 board of violating Policy 5:15, which prohibits acts of intimidation or bullying of any of the district’s officials, administrators, faculty, staff, volunteers and students.
Lauk wouldn’t comment directly about the latest allegation, but did say he is hoping the district will move forward together.
“I offered to withdraw it so that the district can move forward,” Lauk said.
“We need to get the focus back on our students.”
Mazur, who ran unopposed yesterday for reelection to the board and also sought a Lyons Village Board seat, was issued a verbal warning at the March 21 school board meeting after a committee found him guilty of intimidation. He was instructed to write a formal letter of apology to all members involved in the incident.
According to information obtained by the Landmark, the incident began on Jan. 13 at Robinson School in Lyons and continued until Jan. 18.
On Jan. 14, Mazur went to pick his daughter up from an after-school program at Robinson, but a court order filed by his wife prohibited him from doing so.
Mazur claimed that on Jan. 11, he took a court note to Robinson principal Cathy Slee and Lauk showing that the issue had been resolved.
“That information I gave to the principal and superintendent wasn’t given to the after-school program,” Mazur said. “That caused a loud argument, because I couldn’t pick up my daughter.”
When the after-school personnel refused to release Mazur’s daughter, Mazur began making phone calls.
Board President Mark Rogers gave a statement saying that Mazur called him on at 5:30 p.m. that evening, and left a message on his cell phone.
“[Mazur] said that the superintendent and principal had neglected their jobs and that I had better call very shortly,” Rogers said. “I called him back and asked if I could speak to one of the supervisors.
“He said that Cathy Slee had already called and that it was cleared up now.
I said, ‘OK, have a good weekend.’ He replied, ‘Go [profanity] yourself.’ I hung up at that point.”
According to Robinson after-school workers Stephanie Pyka and Sophia Celio, those comments were overheard by the children in attendance.
“I was very scared when [Mazur] first came in, because he just started yelling at me and Sophia,” stated Pyka in a letter given to the investigation committee. “The children should not have heard the choice of words he used or the way he raised his voice at us and while he was on the phone.”
In Slee’s statement to the committee, she said Mazur did stop by the school to drop off a revised order. Slee said, however, that Mazur did so on Jan. 13, not Jan. 11.
“When I looked at the order, it was difficult to read,” Slee said. “I told Mr. Mazur that I would need to look over the original in order to trace it on the copy, because it was illegible.
“I invited him to come and sit in my office while I did that. Steve then proceeded to remind me that Robinson’s ISAT scores went down. He looked at me and said, ‘You’d better hope I don’t get elected, because you’ll have another four years of hell.'”
The committee noted in its formal findings that “while the instance of profane language, which occurred on Jan. 14, was not directed to District 103 personnel that were in [Mazur’s] presence, but rather was simply said within hearing distance of personnel and two children, one being his daughter, we find his actions completely inappropriate.”
It went on to add that Mazur should be reprimanded for his comments made toward Lauk and Slee regarding their continued employment with District 103.
While the board accepted the committee’s discipline recommendation, not all board members agreed with it.
“I’m very concerned about this,” board member Roxanne Connolly said. “This is not the first time [Mazur’s] behavior has been unacceptable. There should have been consequences this time. There would have been consequences if this was one of our students or staff. This is something that needs to be addressed further.”