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State Board To Probe Investigation Of Sexting Principal

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Deer Path Middle School principal John Steinert pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge in 2009. (Credit: Gurnee Police)

Deer Path Middle School principal John Steinert pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge in 2009. (Credit: Gurnee Police)

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — The Illinois State Board of Education wants documents and other information from Lake Forest School District 67 to look into the district’s handling of the investigation of Deer Path Middle School principal John Steinert.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, a spokesman for the board told the Lake County News-Sun that the board wants to know the details of how the district handled the sexting scandal in which Steinert was implicated.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports

Spokesman Matt Vanover told the newspaper the board wants to know if Steinert’s teaching certificate is still valid, since he could look for another teaching position now even though he has resigned as principal of Deer Path.

The state board can suspend or revoke a teaching certificate, and will review whether it should take such action with Steinert’s, Vanover told the News-Sun.

Steinert pleaded guilty a misdemeanor in 2009, admitting that he harassed a 22-year-old female college student who had been an intern with the Lake Forest Police Department. At the time, the school district only reprimanded Steinert and temporarily froze his pay, but the case was reopened when the Chicago Tribune learned of information that was redacted in the original police report on the incident.

The uncensored police report said Steinert used his school-issued cell phone to send her a picture of his penis, and leave voice mails and texts that suggested sex acts he wanted to perform with her, according to reports last week.

Steinert resigned on Sunday, but some parents say that is not enough. On Monday, angry parents at a community meeting demanded to know why School District 67 Supt. Harry Griffith and other school board members failed to follow up with police after Steinert’s guilty plea two years ago.

Griffith has rejected calls for his resignation, saying if he knew then what he knows now, he would have handled it differently.

In addition to Steinert, a Lake Forest police officer who was assigned to the school is also now the subject of harassment allegations by the same young woman. She told police the officer “began asking her questions about what kinds of guys she liked, pornography and sex toys,” according to a police report. “She said she became uncomfortable and changed the subject.”

<a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/11/22/police-officer-now-implicated-in-sexting-principal-scandal/"Officials say there is no evidence that the officer committed a crime, but the Lake Forest Fire and Police Commission will determine whether any other action should be taken.

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