A second parent has filed a police report alleging “inappropriate conduct” between students at a summer camp.
The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and Fairview Heights police have been investigating since the sheriff’s department took a report Aug. 29 from a mother who said there had been “inappropriate conduct” between her child and another juvenile at the Whiteside School District 115 summer camp.
District 115 Superintendent Peggy Burke previously said the Summer of Academics and Recreation camp, also known as SOAR, is for children going into first through fifth grades.
A second mother made a report about the same camp on Sept. 6, according to a news release from Capt. Bruce Fleshren of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department. She told police that she knew of two other juveniles who were possibly involved, and police are in the process of locating them, the release states.
“There will be no reports released as this is an active investigation and no names will be released to protect all juveniles involved,” Fleshern stated.
The first student was scheduled to be interviewed Friday by a “forensic interviewer specially trained in interviewing juveniles and victims of alleged sexual assaults,” according to the release.
Fleshren said the juvenile suspect in the case would also eventually be interviewed.
The school district takes seriously all allegations involving students.
Peggy Burke, Whiteside District 115 superintendent
About 50 students attended the camp this summer, according to Burke. She said about nine to 10 staff members oversaw them on any given day. The law enforcement agencies say there is no indication that any adults or staff were involved in the alleged conduct over the summer.
The district became aware of an alleged incident on Aug. 15, and SOAR staff spoke to the parents of students involved “immediately,” according to Burke. She said another parent came to the district with allegations about the camp on Aug. 28, the same week police got involved.
The superintendent sent a letter to all district parents on Tuesday.
“I want to take this opportunity to inform our district parents and stakeholders of an alleged student-on-student incident that occurred over this past summer during the course of the district’s SOAR program,” Burke wrote. “Out of concern for the students’ privacy, I cannot provide any details of this incident, other than confirm that no staff members were accused of any misconduct. This is strictly a student matter.”
Burke told parents that District 115 reported the allegations to the Department of Children and Family Services and that the district administration was cooperating with the investigation.
“The school district takes seriously all allegations involving students,” Burke wrote. “Providing a safe and secure learning environment for your children remains our number one priority, and we will do everything we can to ensure your children’s safety while in our care.”