Review: District inexperienced in sexting inquiry

February 29, 2012 5:12:33 AM PST
An investigation into how a north suburban school district handled a sexting scandal involving a former principal says that the school district was inexperienced with the criminal justice system, and that lack of knowledge led to a limited investigation.

An independent investigator hired by school officials also said that the Lake Forest School Board and superintendent did not conceal information in the case of Deer Path Middle School principal John Steinert, who was caught sexting. The report, presented Tuesday night, says although the school board and superintendent consulted a lawyer and some board members were lawyers, they were not criminal lawyers, so they were inexperienced.

Steinert resigned last fall after it became known that he used his school cell phone to send explicit text messages to a 22-year-old Lake Forest police department intern in 2008. He pleaded guilty to harassment in 2009.

Board members say they were not fully aware of Steinert's actions because they originally received an edited version of the police report. Going forward, the independent investigator recommends that the school board should adopt a policy involving misconduct outside the workplace. The board should also adopt a policy requiring all district employees to cooperate with internal investigations, and wherever possible, key documents and sensitive issues should be provided to the board.

Some parents are still outraged about how the district handled the case. They have been calling on board members and the superintendent to resign, but those officials have declined to do so.

You can read the full report here: