Friday, August 8, 2014

Silence on Lane Coach

Lane Tech Parents and Students Frustrated by Board's Silence on Lane Tech Coach's Fate

By Jim Vail

Parents and students are demanding the Chicago Board of Ed reinstate their beloved swim coach.

The fight to reinstate Lane Tech coach Paul Rummelhoff, the swim coach who has been under investigation for sexual allegations that were proven false, has been stone walled by the Chicago Board of Education.

Parents and students have gathered to make their case that Rummelhoff, an award-winning swim coach, should be immediately reinstated because he runs summer swim camps that parents have sent their children to for the past several years.

CBS News did a follow up story last month to report that the parents and students want their coach back, followed by pleas at the July Chicago Board of Education meeting extolling board members to reinstate their beloved swim coach. 

"We are frustrated," said Kim Dorl, who has a child who participated on the Lane Tech girls swim team. "We thought we were making progress, and now they say it still is under investigation."

Although Rummelhoff was found not guilty of having sex with a female student swimmer by the Illinois Dept. of Children Family Services, he still is under investigation and not allowed to teach or coach since he was removed from his school back in January of this year.

Andrea Gullickson asked board members at the July meeting why the coach was not back at the school after the DCFS investigation cleared him, while a second speaker, Kim Boettcher repeated the same demand, Substance News reported.

The board denied former Lane Tech star swimmer Meghan Lavelle from speaking. She told Second City Teachers that she tried to sign up online to speak, but was not able to despite trying to register the first day online registration opened. The board did not let her speak, and she raised her hand when she was quoted by one of the parents in her speech, she said.

The plight of Lane Tech swim coach Paul Rummelhoff has garnered international attention where a group of Russians sign a petition to reinstate the teacher. (Photo by Anna Wilson)

Perhaps a good sign for the future was a follow up report by CBS News before parents spoke at July's board meeting. CBS earlier reported the salacious story that a swim coach was accused of having sex with his star female swimmers, an alarming accusation that was not picked up by the other networks.

Their follow up story cleared up questions about Rummelhoff being a sexual predator, a concern he said he had when people would google his name and the previous CBS report would come up.

"Parents and swimmers at Lane Tech High School are demanding answers about the status of their highly successful swim coach," CBS reporter Derrick Blakely stated. "They want the investigation wrapped up, and they want their coach back."

Still, the Board has dug in its heels and states the case is still under investigation. Past stories about teachers under investigation indicate some cases can drag on, sometimes forcing the accused to quit and get on with their lives.

But in Rummelhoff, who has won four consecutive city championships and earned the respect of the community, the board may have met its match.

Parents Want Status Of Lane Tech Swim Coach Resolved

CHICAGO (CBS) – Parents and swimmers at Lane Tech High School are demanding answers about the status of their highly successful swim coach.
Six months ago, coach Paul Rummelhoff was removed, pending investigation of charges of improper conduct with a female student, but there’s still no conclusion.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports both parents and swim team members believe all this has dragged on far too long. They want the investigation wrapped up, and they want their coach back.
Since January, Lane Tech swimmers have been practicing and competing without a leader. Now, they’re making an open plea for CPS to reinstate coach Paul Rummelhoff.
“We won the city championship the last four years. We’ve been undefeated and he’s the reason behind that,” said former Lane Tech swimmer Meghan Lavelle.
Rummelhoff was removed pending investigation of alleged inappropriate actions with a female student.
Lavelle says she didn’t believe that allegations and neither did the Department of Children and FamilyServices, which by February, ruled the charges “unfounded.” But Rummelhoff still hasn’t been returned to his old job.
Kim Boettcher, the parent of a Lane Tech swimmer, says Rummelhoff has gotten a “raw deal.”
CPS would only say, “it’s a continuing investigation,” when contacted by CBS 2. There is no word on how long it might continue, with with girls swim season starting next month.
In an e-mail, Paul Rummelhoff told Blakley he’s heard nothing from CPS since January 24, but wants to return and hopes cps doesn’t needlessly prolong the process.
Lane Tech swimmers and their parents intend to take their concerns to the school board at its meeting next Wednesday.

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