A lawmaker has filed a bill in response to a Northwest Herald investigation that would amend the state’s school code to require school districts to report any investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against a school employee or contractor to parents.
On Monday, state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, filed House Bill 3819 to address concerns raised after a Northwest Herald investigation revealed Community High School District 155 officials knew in August – months before notifying parents – about a police probe into allegations against a Crystal Lake Central High School teacher later charged with felony grooming of an underage girl for sex.
After a two-week internal investigation in the school district’s human resources department, 48-year-old Matthew R. Fralick was allowed to return to his high school classroom.
Filed in Springfield on Monday, McSweeney’s bill would amend the state’s School Code to require any school district that takes disciplinary action against an educator or contractor due to allegations involving an offense that is sexually motivated to report the allegation – including the person’s name – to parents and guardians.
In the case of Fralick, parents were at no time informed about the allegations against him until he turned himself into police in February – months after school officials learned of a police probe that centered on his interactions with a 15-year-old girl.
The bill would provide that if a school district makes a report and, subsequent to the reporting, the employee who was the subject of the report is exonerated from the allegation, the school district must report the exoneration to all persons who received the initial report.
If passed, the law could become effective immediately.
District 155 officials were not immediately available to comment on this story.
District 155 claimed, while denying a specific FOIA request on disciplinary action, that no disciplinary action took place with Fralick in August. However, the bill defines disciplinary action to include “requiring a paid or unpaid leave of absence,” which Fralick had in August.
That means that this bill would have required the school to send home communications to parents of Crystal Lake Central students and also inform school staff of the allegations, in August, against Fralick.
McSweeney was not immediately available for comment on the bill.
After his brief first appearance at the McHenry County courthouse in February, Fralick refused to answer questions about the police investigation that led to the charge and how long he has been on paid leave.
Fralick is accused of using a chatroom website in April to encourage a girl between 13 and 16 years old to engage in sexual behavior, according to a criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court.
From 2010 to 2014, Fralick worked as the head football coach at Crystal Lake Central. He also formerly acted as the assistant coach for the football, girl basketball and boys golf teams.
The driver’s education and health teacher was making $102,026 in base salary with $4,807 in retirement enhancements and $15,350 in other benefits with the district, according to the district’s salary and benefits report dated Aug. 22.
On March 21, Fralick was ousted by the Community High School District 155 Board.
The board voted unanimously during a special meeting to dismiss Fralick from his position and also will notify the Illinois State Board of Education about the matter so it can review whether to suspend or revoke his teaching license.
Fralick could not be reached for comment.