Parents Care released a report yesterday detailing our investigation into the termination of Lake Forest High School District 115 employee Ryan Eleveld (known to students as Mx. E) earlier this school year.  Please take a moment to read the Executive Summary and report at this link if you have not already. Parents Care Board Member Philippe Melin writes to remind us why transparency is critical to keeping our kids safe and offer the elected school board a renewed call to action.  

Op-Ed: Greater Transparency Will Make Our Schools Safer for Students

Greater Transparency Will Make Our Schools Safer for Students

by Philippe Melin

The District’s decision to handle this matter without notifying parents is deeply troubling, and I feel compelled to address again why transparency is essential for safer schools.

The Importance of Transparency and Communication

  • Maintaining Trust and Accountability: Transparency is not just a nicety; it is a fundamental aspect of maintaining trust and ensuring the accountability of our educational institutions. When parents are kept in the dark about serious incidents involving staff misconduct, it erodes the trust we place in those responsible for our children's education and safety.


  • Identifying Additional Victims: It's possible that the perpetrator may have solicited additional improper relationships and may even have succeeded (I have no evidence of this and am not implying this occurred, but it’s not unreasonable to harbor concern about the possibility of multiple victims). 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.


  • Deterring Future Misconduct: By publicizing incidents of adult misconduct, we deter others from abusing their positions of trusted authority. When adults know they cannot hide in anonymity or gain future employment at other schools after engaging in improper relationships with students, they are less likely to act on harmful impulses. Transparency and accountability are key to deterring misconduct and protecting our students from potential harm.
  • Personal Impact: This issue hits close to home for us at Parents Care. One of our board members has a child who was a student of Eleveld. We would have appreciated knowing that the school was aware of this teacher's misconduct so we could have asked our child if they had experienced anything improper. The school's silence denied us this critical opportunity to protect and support our children.

Moving Forward: A Renewed Call for Action

Our community must demand accountability from our educational leaders and our elected School Board members. We as a community must hold them accountable for ensuring that incidents like this are addressed promptly and communicated transparently to parents and the community, and that everything is being done to stop the chronic misconduct occurring at our schools.

Last month, in the wake of another scandal in our schools, Parents Care published seven policy recommendations that would make our schools safer for students if implemented. I revisit those proposals below, noting District 115 followed some but not all in this recent situation: 

  1. Transparent Communication and Reporting Protocols: The Board must commit to making public clear protocols for reporting misconduct allegations and ensuring transparent communication with parents and the community. Fail.
  2. Immediate Removal of Suspected Individuals: In cases where the District credibly suspects sexual misconduct, it must prioritize student safety by immediately removing the suspected adult from unsupervised access to children. Followed.
  3. Proactive Investigation of Past and Present Victims: The District must proactively investigate whether other students, past and present, who encountered the perpetrator have been victimized. Fail.
  4. Comprehensive Employment Vetting: The District must extend employment history reviews (not just criminal background checks) to existing employees with unsupervised access to children (the same background check process state law requires schools to take for new hires). Fail.
  5. End the Cycle of Abuse: The District must adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding adults found to have engaged in sexual misconduct within our schools and report such individuals to the State Board of Education's Faith's Law database as required by law. The District must also report sexually related misconduct to the community and parents of children in contact with alleged perpetrators in a timely manner. Followed in Part / Failed in Part.
  6. Adopt Recommendations from the David Miller Report: The Board should formally adopt, implement, and comply with all recommendations made in pages 41-51 of the David Miller Report to ensure comprehensive safety measures are in place. Open Question.
  7. Independent Third-Party Investigation: The District should hire an independent third-party investigator to thoroughly assess their policies and practices and provide recommendations for improvement. Fail.

We owe it to our children to take decisive action and ensure they learn and thrive in a safe and nurturing environment. By implementing these policy recommendations, we can create a safer environment for our students and rebuild trust within our community. We believe they would also help put an end to the troubling patterns of adult misconduct in our local schools.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the safety and well-being of our children.