School board meeting held following allegations of sexual assault, abuse by longtime Bloom Trail High School teacher 

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STEGER, Ill. — A school board meeting in Steger drew dozens on Monday night following the filing of a lawsuit, against a staff member over alleged sexual misconduct.

About 2 weeks ago, a lawsuit against one of the teachers at Bloom Trail High School.

It accuses a person, who has worked at the school for at least the last two decades, of sexual assault and abuse.

The suit has been filed by a “Jane Doe” who alleges that back in 2000, when she was a 16-year-old sophomore at Bloom Trail, a teacher started a campaign of grooming her. She alleges that it continued throughout her high school career.

A small group of Bloom Trail alumni gathered outside their old high school on Monday night, fired up about the lawsuit. 

During the meeting, some who spoke had their own allegations, like Avery Fluharty, who graduated last year.

“I have been called babe princess, pet names he shouldn’t be calling teenage girls,” Fluharty said. 

Star Kaminski said she overheard those names being used on a Zoom class several years ago and wrote to the principal about it.

“The only thing she said was thank you for bringing it to our attention and we’ll look into it, that was it,” Kaminski said.

Kaminski said she wants to see actions taken. 

“I want to see him fired and held accountable for his actions against these students,” Kaminski said.

Since the filing of the lawsuit, the teacher has been placed on administrative leave and an investigation is underway by authorities and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, but no criminal charges have been filed.

On Monday, WGN-TV spoke with one of the lawyers involved who said they also expect to file additional civil suits.

“We’ve been fielding calls emails Facebook posts of dozens and dozens and dozens of people who have concerns. As of yet, we have not filed additional lawsuits, but we expect there to be others if those courageous victims are willing to go through the litigation process,” Jordan Powell, one of the founding partners of Passen & Powell, said.

The school board declined to speak with WGN-TV but did release a statement.

“We are thoroughly investigating to ensure our students are safe and protected from harm and that any wrong behavior is addressed. The learning environment should be a second home for any young person, where they need not worry about people with ill intentions harming them,” the statement said in part.

The board listened to everyone who wanted to speak on Monday night but did not answer any questions from the public.

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