Speakers tell O’Fallon high school board why they support teacher under investigation
An O’Fallon teacher has submitted his resignation after being on paid administrative leave since March while the school district investigated him.
JaRon Dent, a special education and driving instruction teacher and a coach, will leave O’Fallon Township High School effective May 24. The school board accepted his resignation in a special meeting Wednesday night.
Board members haven’t said publicly why Dent was being investigated. Dent’s attorney, Tom Keefe III, declined to speak about any allegations against Dent.
Keefe said Dent decided to resign because “the alternative would have been an ongoing public fight.”
The school board postponed votes last month on a written reprimand for Dent and a settlement agreement with him, which could have been taken up again at the next meeting May 23.
Dent submitted a letter of resignation May 10.
His supporters had filled the auxiliary gym at the April meeting to tell the school board why they thought it should reconsider reprimanding him and why he should be allowed to come back to work. Some called him a mentor and their favorite teacher.
“I think that the show of support was something that meant a lot to him, although it occurred under circumstances and for reasons that neither he nor I felt were particularly fair,” Keefe said. “He knows what he did and did not do. He knows what kind of person he is and has always been.”
They have known each other since they attended Althoff Catholic High School together, according to Keefe.
“He’s somebody I’m proud to call a friend,” Keefe said.
Dent plans to continue teaching at a new school, according to Ray Roskos, a local Illinois Federation of Teachers union representative.