My name is Frank McCormick, the executive director of Parents Care, and I want to use this opportunity to respond to the countless parents and community members who have asked questions and shared their concerns over the employment of a sexual groomer of middle school girls at Deerpath Middle School for over a decade.

I want to assure you that both myself and our Board President, Jeff Brincat, are personally involved in getting answers to your questions about both how this happened and how it was handled, as well as if there was any impropriety during his tenure (yes, we have received complaints from former students).

Sexual Groomer Update

While we do not have answers yet and will relentlessly pursue the truth until we receive it, we can share with you the latest response from Dr. Montgomery, which has been a complete and utter refusal to answer additional questions or share information concerning Paul Brock and our children.

I will not mince words on this issue. As a public school teacher for over ten years, the behavior I have seen from Matthew Montgomery is a behavior I have witnessed countless times throughout my career: Dr. Montgomery is putting the reputation of himself and the school system before that of our children and their parents.

I've seen this behavior countless times during my tenure as a public school teacher, but I never thought I would see it in my child's school district in Lake Forest. Perhaps I was naive...

So, how did we get here?

It began with Jeff Brincat, Board President, and me trying to obtain information on what happened in response to the many questions and comments we received from the community.

Initially, Melissa Oakley, the Director of Communications, was asked a series of simple questions based on numerous questions and comments we received from parents (email thread attached below); she would not answer.

Then, Dr. Montgomery involved himself and copied the school district's attorney. When pressed, he would not answer the questions and then outright refused to communicate on the matter any further.

The most important question, in our opinion, was how long Paul Brock was allowed to remain working with children after the district received the most recent allegations concerning him.

Did the district act immediately and remove him from classroom duties pending the result of an investigation, or did they choose to avoid embarrassment and publicity during the investigation and keep him with children? 

Dr. Montgomery will not answer this question or the others I asked of him.

I find this behavior shameful to educators like myself, and I am not alone.

Dr. Matthew Montgomery, Superintendent of Lake Forest Schools, flat-out refused to answer our questions.

What is even more frustrating is that Melissa Oakley, the head of communications for the district, has repeatedly ignored our requests for additional information or forwarded them to Dr. Montgomery, which begs the question of what this six-figure communications director at the district does if she cannot handle simple inquiries.

At Parents Care, transparency is essential, so I am providing you with the whole, unabridged email exchange between Ms. Oakley, Dr. Montgomery, and me. You can access it here.

Below are the questions we have been working on receiving answers to but which Dr. Montgomery is, as of now, refusing to answer:

  1. For how long after the initial complaint was made was he in the classroom or in a position where he was in contact with students? Was he immediately placed on suspension following an investigation?
  2. On what date was the Evanston school district first contacted after the allegations were made?
  3. When were the parents of his current students notified of the allegations, investigation, or suspension?
  4. Have any efforts been made to contact the families of Brock's former students? Or, depending on their age, the former students themselves?
  5. What plans does the district have to communicate with former employers of employees hired before implementing Faith's Law to see if any previously suppressed records regarding potential misconduct can be shared with the district?

As executive director of Parents Care, I promise you that we will continue working tirelessly to get to the bottom of this and demand that Dr. Montgomery stop putting his reputation and the interests of the system before the truth and the best interests of students.

Additionally, our Board President, Jeff Brincat, wanted me to share a statement on this issue:

We continue to be disappointed with the lack of transparency by the district and the administration.  As taxpayers, we have funded a communications office and their consultants to the tune of hundreds of thousands annually.  While they can go "all out" for a bond issue in order to obtain more funds for the administration, we are unable to receive basic answers to legitimate queries by parents.  As a parents, taxpayers, etc. this is appalling.

Given the long list of sexual scandals in our schools of late, we were hopeful the school leadership had learned its lesson on their duty to parents and the community.  Whether analyzing their response to the unauthorized release of information regarding 504 students/families, or the aforementioned sex scandals we are all too familiar with, the administration continues to fall well short of good judgment regarding their obligations as public servants to the community.  

This has gone beyond "what exactly happened"  Now, it's about "Why do we have to fight so hard for information about wahat is happening around our children?"  Rest assured, we will not ever stop fighting for this required transparency.
Jeffrey R. Brincat

As the father of a child in District 67, I take no pleasure in confronting this truth, but there is no way to put it. When you refuse to be fully transparent about the employment and history of a sexual groomer who was employed for over ten years in our middle school, you are complicit in a system that protects the institution that allows sexual predators to lurk. It is not enough to fire sexual predators when forced by parental complaints. A superintendent must be fully transparent and responsive to the community.

Dr. Montgomery does not get to decide what details he shares about the incident because he fears being judged for mishandling the issue or thinks it will hurt his reputation. The interests and rights of parents and their children must always come first. Always!

Thank you for your time and attention to this critical matter. I promise we will keep you updated and share developments as they arise, and we will not rest until we receive answers.

If you feel compelled to email the superintendent or board of education, here is how you can, and feel free to copy us on the email at [email protected]:

Thank you for fighting for students over systems,

Frank McCormick
Executive Director
Parents Care