Bensenville village president again calls on Fenton High School superintendent to resign

Now-former Fenton High School staffer accused of inappropriate conduct dating back to 2011

Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Bensenville village president calls on Fenton HS supt. to resign
Bensenville, Illinois Village President Frank DeSimone again called for Fenton High School Superintendent James Ongtengco to resign on Tuesday night.

BENSENVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- At Tuesday night's meeting, Bensenville Village President Frank DeSimone reiterated his calls for Fenton Community High School District 100 Superintendent James Ongtengco to resign.

A now-former Fenton High School staff member, fired last week, is accused of inappropriate conduct. Those allegations date back more than a decade.

The school district and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services have shared conflicting details as to who knew what information in the investigation and when that information was received.

"These are trying times for our community. We are both consumed and heartbroken over what we have learned," DeSimone said.

DeSimone said he spoke not just as a leader, but as a concerned parent of a Fenton High School student.

"This issue is not going to go away. This issue will not be swept under the rug, I will not stand for that. The Fenton board knows there is only one path forward to help our community begin to heal," DeSimone said.

DeSimone joined the calls from other Fenton parents and students, who have demanded that Ongtengco step down.

"Action must be taken now to prevent further damage to our community. Students and staff will not feel safe until appropriate action is taken," said Billy Camp, a sophomore at Fenton High School.

"When you care for something as much as we care for this community, it has to be held to a higher standard, and this administration has not been acting at the behest of students, the community, and just basic human decency," said Fenton High School alum Sarah Moore.

Parents ABC7 spoke with ahead of Tuesday night's village board meeting were left angry and feeling betrayed.

"We really want to know what happened, where the failures were. We feel that there should be an outside investigation brought in," said Fenton High School parent Julia Styrczula.

"I'm sad that the girls who came forward with allegations, and the teachers who brought forward allegations, were given no credence and they were virtually ignored," said Andrea Vallone, another parent.

The meeting happened after we learned more about the investigation into the former staffer.

Ongtengco claims in December 2016, the district contacted DCFS regarding allegations that the staffer had sexual contact with a student, which, he said, were determined to be unfounded.

But DCFS said the department was not notified about the employee until after March of last year.

However, the school district, maintained its stance on Tuesday that it did contact DCFS in December of 2016. The district provided documents to ABC7 outlining, what they said, is that 2016 communication and a determination by DCFS that those claims were unfounded.

Later Tuesday night, DCFS said the paperwork the school district sent to ABC7 was not produced by DCFS, and they maintain they were not contacted about these allegations until March of 2023.

Meanwhile, a closer look at the timeline released by the superintendent apparently reveals that at least nine allegations were brought against the staffer in question between December 2011 and December 2023.

The district said most ended with either the staffer receiving a disciplinary letter or the claims being determined to be unfounded, until September 2023. That's when the staffer was placed on paid administrative leave until, ultimately, being fired.

So far, no charges have been have filed against the former staffer.

Also during the meeting, Bensenville police spoke about two recent reported bomb threats against Fenton High School and the superintendent, including one just Tuesday morning.

Police said both threats were investigated and no explosives were found, adding that the threats were emailed from the same person from outside the United States