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Lack of Background Check Behind High School Shake-Up

Paul Steinbach

Lake Park (Ill.) High School District 108 revealed Wednesday the reason it had placed its athletic director and principal on administrative leave days after suspending its head football coach. The district is conducting an investigation into how a volunteer coach was hired in the absence of a criminal background check.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, district spokeswoman Sherri Anderson said in an email that “a criminal background check was not conducted on one volunteer football coach at the onset of the football season. The district‘s investigation centers on how this occurred.”

From AB: How to Conduct Background Checks for Youth Sports Volunteers

The district requires criminal background checks and fingerprinting “of all volunteers involved in co-curricular programs, which includes athletics and activities,” Anderson said.

Head coaches and sponsors are required to submit names of volunteer and paid coaches to the human resources department and athletic department to authorize criminal background checks, the Tribune reported, but “the district cannot proceed with a criminal background check of a volunteer if the head coach or sponsor fails to submit the name of the volunteer,” according to the statement.

ABC affiliate WLS reported that there are allegations that the volunteer coach, who the district has declined to name, is a registered sex offender.

From AB: Results of Background Checks Must Be Guarded to Protect Volunteers' Privacy

Lake Park football coach Chris Roll's suspension was announced Oct. 25, the same day his team lost its final game of the season. Then, on Monday, district administration sent an email to parents announcing that principal Dominic Manola and athletic director Pete Schauer had been placed on administrative leave. At the time, the letter did not specify what led to the disciplinary action, referring only to a "football-related incident."
 
“The district is trying to expeditiously complete its investigation while carefully balancing the release of information, maintaining the integrity of the investigation process, and ensuring due process for all parties involved,” according to the recent statement.
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