Authorities say a misdemeanor charge has been filed against a Grayslake Elementary District 46 substitute teacher for making a threatening telephone call to a school board member during a three-day strike in January.
Christopher Culp, 43, of the 600 block of South Rose Hall Lane in Round Lake, was charged with disorderly conduct/telephone harassment, Grayslake police Detective Sgt. Jeff Myhra said Friday.
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Myhra said Culp was freed before his trial date after posting $500 bail. Culp, who could not be reached for comment, is to answer to the charge April 2 in Lake County circuit court.
Shannon Smigielski was a District 46 board member when she reported to Grayslake police the obscenity-laced message she received about 11:45 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, after the third day of the teachers' strike. Smigielski resigned her school board seat March 3, in part, because of what she said Friday was the emotional distress and fear that resulted from the harassment authorities accuse Culp of committing.
Using a menacing tone, a man could be heard on the recording saying he wanted the teachers strike settled, called Smigielski a liar and claimed he "would really hate to see what happens" to her daughters at school when he directs his children to taunt them. Smigielski said she learned Culp has taught at one of her daughter's schools.
Because her caller ID listed the originating number as "private," Smigielski said, Grayslake police detectives obtained a subpoena for her AT&T records. Myhra said the message came from a landline traced to Culp's home address.
Smigielski was elected to a four-year term in 2011 on a platform that included a need for ethical and attentive public servants, fiscal responsibility and transparency. Elected officials on the volunteer school board soon will appoint a replacement to fill the final two years of her term.
No public official, volunteer or paid, should ever be threatened or find their family menaced, she said.
"I am so pleased that the Grayslake Police Department and Lake County state's attorney's office have taken this matter seriously and followed through in seeing this man (Culp) brought to justice," Smigielski said. "This behavior cannot be tolerated, or it could affect how elected or appointed officials run the government."
District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll declined to comment on Culp's employment status Friday.
School board members and the Lake County Federation of Teachers union settled the strike early in the morning Jan. 21, roughly a day after Smigielski reported the phone harassment.