District 96 should accept responsibility

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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At the Jan. 15 District 96 board meeting, President Mary Ellen Meindl and Superintendent Jonathan Lamberson discussed compromising the confidentiality of mandatory reporters. They referred to the situation involving Mrs. Corrigan and I. They failed to mention their actions, as well as the actions of their employee, that made confidentiality impossible in this case.

At the August 2012 board meeting, Mrs. Corrigan and I offered to meet with the board in executive session. That request was denied by Mrs. Meindl. We then tried to meet privately with Mr. Lamberson and Mrs. Meindl. They refused to schedule a meeting with us. That was when they brought in the lawyers. Instead of trying to work this out as concerned parents, we got lawyers thrown at us.

At the January meeting, Mr. Lamberson expressed his concern regarding Mrs. Corrigan and I delivering copies of the Riverside police report to board members. He failed to mention that I contacted his office before delivery, and they assisted me in confirming board member addresses. Mrs. Corrigan emailed each board member before we arrived. None of them told us not to stop by.

Mrs. Corrigan and I should never have been placed in the position to deliver the report. Mr. Lamberson and the board's attorneys should have fully informed the board about this important matter. It is impossible for any board to make informed decisions when pertinent information is withheld from them.

As I stated in the letter included with each report, I legally obtained this report through a FOIA request. We have spoken with the Riverside police, DCFS, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Attorney General's Office. They all confirmed that we did not break any laws. The district appears to have reached the same conclusion. Initially the district's law firm tried to get us criminally charged. Now the board members have reportedly read the report.

A search of records by DCFS has shown the district's latest version of events to be incorrect. That search revealed DCFS was never contacted and DCFS did not contact the district, or any employee, regarding my daughter in this case. Contrary to the board's statement, DCFS has no record on file of anyone ever contacting them to report my daughter.

If the district's employee had contacted DCFS, instead of presenting irresponsible claims to the Riverside Police Department, this case would have remained confidential. Rather than inferring blame on Mrs. Corrigan and me, and issuing misleading statements, Mr. Lamberson and the board should accept responsibility for their actions and more closely examine the actions of the employee responsible for initiating this terrible situations.

Steven Battersby


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sympathetic riversider from riverside  

Posted: February 25th, 2013 9:43 PM

From the info I have gleaned in this affair, I think I read that your daughter got some like 17-25k or in that ballpark. if this a correct understanding of the settlement amt, tHIs is woefully undervalued amt considering your daughter's good name was harmed and now it will be difficult to practice her chosen profession, teaching kids. It is more than only one yrs salary , but some number of yrs more , possible a whole career 65-25=40 yrs?

Jeffrey Miller from Riverside  

Posted: February 22nd, 2013 9:14 AM

I'd like to add my apologies as a District 96 resident for the shameful way the District treated your daughter. District Administrators and their attorneys need to be held accountable for their actions and the the Board of Education needs to actively exercise its oversight responsibilities.

thanks from north riverside  

Posted: February 20th, 2013 9:46 PM

Mr Battersby thanks for opening up our eyes about what happened to your daughter. I believe she was treated horribly by all the district 96 leaders and lawyers. I thought she was a wonderful teacher and her students really enjoyed her creative lessons. I'm sorry she is not teaching. I hope she can put this behind her and try teaching again.

Voter from Riverside  

Posted: February 20th, 2013 3:49 PM

Mr. Battersby, You and your daughter deserve much better from us. Thank you for your letter and comments.

Seeing is Believing!  

Posted: February 20th, 2013 11:20 AM

Wow! Thank you for giving us this insight Mr. Battersby. I'm with the others in offering an apology to your family.

Elizabeth Spakowski Gomorczak from North Riverside, Illinois  

Posted: February 19th, 2013 11:23 PM

Mr. Battersby, I'm sorry you and your family, especially Susan, were put through such an ugly and reprehensible ordeal. I am hoping that this wrong will be righted soon. You deserve it and so does our community.

Joanne Rogers  

Posted: February 19th, 2013 10:30 PM

Please accept my apology, too, as a District resident. Susan should never have been treated the way Lamberson and Lieggi treated her.

Jerry Buttimer  

Posted: February 19th, 2013 10:23 PM

Mr. Battersby, as one concerned resident, please accept my apology for the way your family was treated. More seems to be coming out and good people are gaining the courage to speak up. Hopefuly you will see the caring side of Riverside that my family experienced from the teachers and leaders of D-96 when our kids were there.

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