White sentence a start, not the end

By Erik Thompson

Congratulations to Julia Rietz and the parents of 11 young girls for successfully securing a 48-year sentence against Jon A. White, former Thomas Paine Elementary School teacher and child molester.

But the community is, and should be, far from satisfied.

During the investigation, White’s previous record of sexual misconduct during his time in McLean County was uncovered, as well as Urbana school administrators’ willful reluctance to acknowledge said record when hiring him. The parents of the first victim reported in the evidence hearing that former Principal Janice Bradley heard their concerns on Nov. 2, 2006, but were not interviewed until almost a week later by a district administrator. Later, it was learned that former Superintendent Gene Amber insisted on an internal investigation of the November incident and came to the dubiously convenient and unsurprising conclusion that it was “a misunderstanding.”

Currently, Bradley and Amber are attempting to escape culpability of the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act by hiding in retirement. The act requires all suspicions of inappropriate behavior by education employees to be reported. Of equal guilt is John Pye, assistant superintendent of the Normal school district, who originally dismissed White’s sexual abuse and use of school computers for porn viewing. This tacit tolerance of the others makes them guilty accomplices.

The moment has been long overdue for the citizens and taxpayers, whose money continues to pay for these vile and often ignored acts (even the official NEA Web site comes complete with guides for teachers to elude justice for sexual misconduct, making it look more like a pamphlet for NAMbLA), when demanded and harassed for ever more funding for “education” to remember this one of many episodes and simply ask, “Why?”

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Erik Thompson

University alumnus