Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guilty Until Proven Innocent in D203

TO:  School Board, Naperville School District 203 

I found the superintendent's email this evening very disturbing, first due to the possibility that a student might have been sexually abused by an NNHS counselor, but also because the superintendent's email was heavily slanted toward an assumption that the employee was guilty.

Then I went from being disturbed to outraged when I read the principal's email, which does not even use the word 'alleged', but boldly speaks of "our student who was the victim of abuse". He goes on to apologize for his failure to protect a student from something that has yet to be proved ever happened. I'd like Principal Pobst to apologize to the community for failing to upload our nation's 235 year adherence to the presumption of innocence!

This employee could be guilty as sin. Or maybe he's innocent. But the Distrtict has no business maligning him in these emails until he is convicted in a court of law. If he is found innocent, you've opened the taxpayers up to an expensive slander law suit. Surely you tax us enough to have attorney's review press releases like these before you send them out.

Liberty Watchman

Principle Pobst's email to the community follows:
Dear NNHS School Community,

Earlier this evening you received a letter from Naperville Community Unit School District 203 Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mark Mitorvich, in which he announced that John Carbonaro, a counselor at NNHS has been formally charged by the DuPage County State’s Attorney with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a North student. Mr. Carbonaro has been suspended from his position.

I know that you join me in feeling great sorrow for our student who was the victim of abuse, as well as many other students who are suffering great disappointment.   I want the students and families of Naperville North to know how sorry I am for what happened to these students and for the pain that the North community will be experiencing in the days and weeks to come.  I am particularly crushed because my first responsibility as a Principal is to protect the health and well-being of each student at NNHS.

As Dr. Mitrovich told you earlier, last Thursday evening, February 17, a courageous parent contacted me to tell me about a rumor of an inappropriate relationship between a staff member and a student. I reached out to the parents of the student named in the rumor and worked with District leaders to notify the proper legal authorities who conducted a full investigation.  That investigation continues.  Our cooperation with legal authorities has been robust.

During this time of crisis, I have asked our staff to intensify our focus on the best interest of each individual child.  When we identify a student in need, we will connect them to a supportive intervention.  We are providing counseling support in the school for any student who may need or want to discuss this issue. If you perceive that your child needs support, please direct him or her to speak with their individual counselor, school social worker, or a trusted teacher.

I join Dr. Mitrovich in stressing to all of you that we take allegations of staff misconduct very seriously. It is important that anyone who feels the actions of a staff member have been inappropriate bring their concerns to my attention.
We aspire for North High to be a place of caring, responsibility, and integrity.  We pledge to redouble our efforts to be that for students and families.  We will rebuild your trust in North.

Kevin Pobst

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