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Accused Glenn Teacher's License Suspended Using New State Law

Jonathan Hovey in court
Ryan Denham
Jonathan Hovey, left, with his attorney, Tristan Bullington, in front of Judge Scott Drazewski on Aug. 16, 2019, at the McLean County Law and Justice Center.

The Illinois State Board of Education has suspended the licenses of around 40 educators across the state—including one from Unit 5—who are charged with sex crimes, violent felonies or certain drug offenses.

Jonathan Hovey’s professional educator license was suspended Oct. 25 by State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala. Hovey, of Forsyth, was charged in August with molesting two of his first-grade students at Glenn Elementary School in Normal. Hovey was pulled from the classroom and placed on leave. He has pleaded not guilty.

Hovey’s license was suspended using a new state law that Gov. JB Pritzker signed in late August, seeking to strengthen student safety protections. It allows the State Board of Education (ISBE) to suspend an educator's license immediately if they are charged with certain crimes, including sex crimes, drug offenses, and Class X felonies. The license would be reinstated if the person is acquitted.

Prior to now, ISBE frequently had to wait until the conclusion of criminal proceedings.

The law also requires all school districts to review existing policies and procedures concerning sexual abuse investigations, and to report to ISBE when an educator is convicted of specific crimes. 

There are 45 total cases similar to Hovey’s under the new law, an ISBE spokesperson said. All sanctions are available on ISBE’s website, including Hovey’s.

Authorities say Hovey molested two girls—one in 2004-05, the other in 2017-18. The older allegation was investigated back in 2005 but no charges were filed, and Hovey continued to teach. The second victim stepped forward in April, and Hovey was then removed from the classroom. The first victim, now 21, was then re-interviewed, and Hovey was arrested Aug. 2.

Hovey is due back in court Nov. 8. His attorney said he plans to mount a “vigorous defense.” The attorney declined comment Wednesday on the license suspension.

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