Molestation charge isolated incident, Dist. 76 officials say
The alleged molestation of an eighth grader at West Oak Middle School in Mundelein was an isolated case, parents in Diamond Lake District 76 were told Monday.
"We have no reason to suspect other students were involved," Superintendent Roger Prosise said.
However, it could trigger changes in school policies involving Internet use and teachers driving students home, he added.
Prosise and school board president Keith Loeffler said in a letter to parents Monday they were saddened and shocked by the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Nicole Jacobsen, an eighth grade teacher at the school.
"We feel betrayed by Ms. Jacobsen. She violated our trust and the students' trust," the letter said.
Jacobsen, 39, of the 8800 block of McKinley Drive in Barrington, was charged Saturday with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy. Lake County authorities said Jacobsen molested the boy in a classroom at the school after a volleyball game May 13.
She was released Sunday from the Lake County jail after posting 10 percent of her $50,000 bond. Jacobsen is scheduled to appear in court May 26.
Prosise said this was Jacobsen's first year at West Oak.
On May 18, school officials "became aware of the possibility of inappropriate behavior on the part of Ms. Jacobsen," parents were told.
She was immediately sent home and suspended, and the student's parents and Lake County Sheriff's Office were notified, according to the letter.
The attack surfaced when the boy's older brother found a message from Jacobsen on his Facebook page and brought a printout to school officials.
Prosise said the subjects of Internet use and other policies will be discussed Tuesday during a regularly scheduled meeting of the district's administrative team.
"Do we need to have something for Facebook?" he said. "Another (policy to be considered) could be staff driving students home. She drove this student home, but had parental consent to do so."
Prosise said the school social worker has spoken with the eighth grader, who has not missed any school.
Meanwhile, the West Oak crisis team will develop and implement a plan to provide emotional support for students and staff. The letter described it as a "difficult and challenging" time for West Oak and District 76.
Prosise said "nothing close to this" has occurred in the district in his 12-year tenure.
"It was very disappointing and shocking," he said.