New Berlin High School P.E. Teacher Ryan O’Donnell has been placed on leave and is under a criminal investigation by the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.
O’Donnell was the subject of a heated exchange by parents and the school administration at the Monday monthly board meeting that was caught on video. Parents wanted to know why further disciplinary action was not taken by the school board after failing to report the misconduct with students by O’Donnell, which allegedly began over 8 months ago. The Illinois Abuse and Neglected Children Act has included the state’s teachers in its definition of mandated reporters since the law’s inception in 1975. Failing to report an incident of abuse and neglect is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to 1 year in jail, a second offense is a Class 4 Felony. Most often in failing to report an instance of abuse, teachers often have their teaching licenses suspended or revoked.
School Board President Bill Alexander released a statement to Springfield Leaks after the meeting saying the board cannot legally discuss in public meetings personnel issues but that the district was fully cooperating with investigators and are awaiting the results of those investigations.