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Glenn Parent Disappointed With Unit 5 Handling Of Sexual Abuse Claims

Claire speaks to the board
Mary Cullen
Glenn Elementary School parent Claire Hedden addresses the Unit 5 school board about Jonathan Hovey on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019.

The Unit 5 school board heard public comment Wednesday from a woman whose daughter was in Jonathan Hovey’s first grade class at Glenn Elementary this past school year.

Hovey was arrested earlier this month on six counts of predatory sexual assault and abuse for alleged misconduct with two students.

Claire Hedden said she was in the room when Hovey was walked out of class for the last time.

“I was volunteering on Monday, April 15, about 9:30 a.m. when he exited the classroom, escorted out by Principal Oester," she said.

Hedden said neither the school nor the district communicated with parents about what had occurred until weeks later when a letter from the school’s principal explained Hovey was removed “for personal reasons.”

Hedden said it took too long for parents to learn the full extent of those “personal reasons.”

“A WGLT news article four months later on Aug. 3 was how I found out that my daughter’s teacher was accused of sexually abusing students in 2017-18, and previously in 2005.”

Hedden questioned the board to clarify its process for documenting and investigating concerns and complaints filed against its teachers and staff.

She was joined at the board meeting by a group of Glenn parents, but was the sole spokesperson for the group.

That group of parents after the meeting expressed frustrations with how the district has handled the traumatic event, many saying they felt that the district was not showing empathy.

Hedden recalled an email from Glenn Principal Cari Oester after Hovey’s arrest.

“Current district and school administration was not employed by Unit 5 at the time of the 2005 alleged incident, but officials said Unit 5 cooperated with authorities at that time,” Hedden read from the email. “Show me. Statements like this do not satisfy me, but they sound more like passing the buck.”

Unit 5 previously told WGLT it cannot comment in depth on the matter due to it being an ongoing investigation.

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