Reader Warning: Recognizing that this is a sensitive topic, and out of respect to our readers, we wanted to offer an advanced warning to our readers who may find this topic difficult to read about. This issue of our newsletter deals with issues surrounding child predators, sexual abuse, suicide, and substance abuse.

Please see our confidential tip line at the end of this email.

Lake Forest Schools Disturbing Secrecy Concerning Child Predators

Did you know that by the time our children turn eighteen, a staggering 1-in-10 of them will have encountered sexual misconduct by a school employee?

And if your child is abused:

  • They are at least 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide later in life.
  • 1 in 3 develop a substance abuse disorder by the time they are eighteen.

As a teacher of eleven years, I, unfortunately, can testify to more incidents than I wish to remember that I was witness to during my tenure. Yet, what is just as horrific is how these incidents were routinely handled- with secrecy and deception of the public- to protect the District's reputation.

I will admit I was incredibly naive. I thought the incidents and culture of secrecy I witnessed would not be in my hometown of Lake Forest...  I was wrong.

The topic of child predators, sexual abuse, and coverups are difficult conversations to have, especially when they deal with our children and our schools. For months, we have been engaged in a series of investigations into several incidents where our children were exposed to child predators. While these investigations have not concluded, we have been troubled by what we have not only discovered- but also by the lack of transparency and refusal to answer questions by our elected officials and school employees.

Before we go any further, we would like to offer a tremendous thanks to the brave heroes in our schools and community- teachers, school personnel, and parents- who have risked their jobs and reputations to pass along certain pieces of information regarding these incidents. We understand the risks involved and are forever grateful to these individuals for stepping forward to do the right thing.

While we plan to issue a full report to the community in the coming weeks, let me share a few details of what we have been dealing with in trying to get to the bottom of several incidents:

  • Dr. Montgomery's refusal to answer simple factual questions about the incidents in our schools.

  • Dr. Montgomery refused to inform us how long Paul Brock was left in the classroom after they received a tip he had engaged in misconduct with a child.

  • D67 Board President Anne Geraghty Helms refused to respond to an email requesting to speak with us concerning these issues and instead referred the email to her attorney.

  • The School Board's silence concerning child predators in the District.

  • District communications director Melissa Oakley refused to publicize particular incidents involving children being preyed upon by adults.

  • The school district attorney responded to emails telling us our questions would be treated as a FOIA request.

  • A refusal to commit to conducting employment background checks of employees hired prior to July 1, 2023 (Faith's Law).

  • Numerous FOIA denials.

  • A whistleblower informed us that the District is cracking down on and threatening whistleblowers who speak to the public.

These are just some of the examples of obstructionism we have encountered in trying to get to the bottom of several issues involving child predators in our schools.

Our investigation is not over, but we have received so many questions, comments, and tips that we felt we owed it to the community to provide an update on our investigation.

Thank you for taking this issue seriously and committing to keep our community's most precious treasure safe. I promise you that we will not drop this issue, will continue our investigations, and will disclose all our findings.

Thank you,

Frank McCormick
Executive Director
Parents Care

Child Solicitation at LFHS and the Importance of Transparency

By Philippe Melin

Last weekend, Parents Care discovered and reported to the community the distressing news that an adult staff member at Lake Forest High School solicited a relationship with a minor. While the district appears to have acted swiftly in removing the worker, the subsequent lack of communication from the School Board raises severe concerns about their handling of these matters and our educational leaders' accountability. This new incident comes just months after District 115 terminated a math teacher for lying about being terminated for similar behavior at a school in Evanston.  

Transparency is not just a nicety; it is a fundamental aspect of maintaining trust and ensuring the accountability of our educational institutions. Parents have a right to know about any incidents that could harm their children or affect their safety at school. By failing to promptly inform parents and the broader community about this troubling situation, the School Board has undermined the trust and confidence of parents and neglected its responsibility to prioritize student safety.

Sharing information about adult misconduct incidents in school buildings can help prevent similar situations. When the community is aware of such incidents, they can be more vigilant and proactive in reporting suspicious behavior. Indeed, this incident is not an isolated occurrence but part of a concerning pattern of adult misconduct within our local schools (e.g., David Miller and Paul Brock). Each of these instances underscores the need for proactive measures to safeguard our students and ensure that such behavior is swiftly addressed and communicated to parents.

Furthermore, it's very possible the perpetrator may have solicited additional improper relationships and may even have succeeded. Without full transparency, the School Board deprives parents of the opportunity to ask their children if they were solicited or victimized. This lack of information not only impedes the ability to provide support to potential victims but also hinders efforts to prevent further harm from occurring.

Parents Care believes that open communication is essential in fostering a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. Our community must not pretend that bad things can't happen in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. We call on the School Board to prioritize transparency and accountability in all matters concerning student safety and to rein in an Administration that obsessively tries to control the narrative. The Board should implement clear protocols for reporting misconduct allegations to the public and commit to regular and transparent communication with parents and the broader community about incidents that may impact student well-being.

Our children deserve to learn and thrive in an environment free from the threat of harm or misconduct. Our educational leaders must uphold their responsibility to keep parents informed and work collaboratively with the community to ensure the safety and well-being of all students.

Community Comments

Due to the overwhelming number of emails we received concerning the LFHS solicitation and Paul Brock incidents, we will only be focusing on community commentary this week surrounding those issues and will respond to some of the questions and additional commentary next week. As a reminder, you can send us your questions and comments by replying to this email, emailing us at [email protected], or using this form.

We thank you for your comments, however for the sake of time and space we have only selected a handful of them for publication at this time.

"JB": It appears the Administration's approach to this latest incident is one of just determining what THEY think we parents need to know.

Anonymous: They (Montgomery, Leinart, Oakley, the 115 Board, etc.) forget they are part of a public institution that belongs to the community.  It's not their school, it's not their money, and they are not their children.  They are comfortable throwing all kinds of our money into messaging as long as it's all "unicorns and butterflies."  In keeping this from parents, they are standing with the sexual predators and not with parents.

Tina: If this were happening in any other community, the board meetings would be full of angry parents. It shouldn't have to happen to YOUR child for you to get outraged. If it does, you might find yourself standing alone. Thank you, guys, for fighting the good fight.

Anonymous: Sorry, but the District has terminated these adults for their behavior. That was the right thing to do. There was no legitimate reason to report these terminations to the public except to embarrass our hard-working educators, 99.9% of whom are doing everything right.  

Tom S.: This kind of "sweep it under the rug" mindset was a death knell for much of the Catholic Church.  Chicago schools saw thousands of such incidents last year, according to the Tribune.  These incidents are just too numerous in Lake Forest alone to continue to ignore.  

Anonymous: So much for their pleas to keep our children safe.  What they want to keep safe are their cushy Admin/Bureaucratic roles here in Lake Forest.

Confidential Whistleblower Tip Line

Please email [email protected] to reach our confidential tip line reserved for school district and community whistleblowers.

Please note that this email address is protected by a third-party authenticator AND a text-message-based authentication system and is only opened from a single computer on a protected network.

School employees: for your protection, please only send emails to this address from a personal email address and NEVER on the district network.