By Howard Packowitz
NORMAL – Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel said Wednesday night he and other school administrators are meeting in small groups with concerned parents following the arrest of Glenn Elementary School first grade teacher Jonathon Hovey on charges he molested two of his students.
The mother of a child, who was in Hovey’s class last school year, told the school board administrators kept parents in the dark about the charges.
Claire Hedden says her child is not one of the alleged victims. She said she was volunteering in the classroom when Glenn Principal Cari Oester escorted Hovey from the room on a Monday morning in April.
“No one spoke to me in that moment about his leaving. Parents were not communicated to about his absence for weeks until a letter from Principal Oester stated it was for personal reasons,” Hedden said.
Parents didn’t learn about the details for four more months when there were news reports about Hovey’s arrest.
Hedden says administrators seem to be “passing the buck.” Administrators pointed out they were not working for Unit 5 when the first sexual abuse allegations were made in 2005. No charges were filed back then, and Hovey resumed his teaching career that came to a halt when a child came forward in April saying Hovey molested her in 2017.
Hedden wants to know how complaints are passed on when there’s a change in school administration.
“These concerns apply to every school in Unit 5, every employee of Unit 5, and every child and family in the district. We need communication, clarity, and policy,” Hedden said.
She wonders why authorities have not contacted parents of all kids who were in Hovey’s class.
“Why has there not been a public or parental meeting with Unit 5, Normal Police Department, and the (Illinois) Department of Children and Family Services?”
Unit 5 placed Hovey on paid administrative leave in April. He is expected to appear for a McLean County Court hearing on Friday.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org