By Maria Maxham
Last week, the Forest Park Review reported on District 91's handling of a fight between students that occurred off school property. Superintendent Louis Cavallo was quoted as saying middle school principal Joseph Pisano worked hard to mediate the issue.
However, according to the mother of one of the children involved in the fight, despite Cavallo's assertion that the issue was being resolved, he personally has "not done anything" to help. In fact, the mother, who asked that she not be named, said her son has been the victim of the same group of boys on three different occasions. Each time she reached out to the school, she was told by Cavallo that D91 couldn't do anything since the attacks occurred off school property. It was only when she posted a video of the fight to a Forest Park-oriented Facebook group that the school district finally took action.
Although she said Pisano has been as helpful as possible, she feels that Cavallo has ignored all previous and current requests for assistance in this matter. According to the student's mother, the mediation Cavallo says occurred on Friday, Sept. 6 boiled down to apologies, with parents of the alleged perpetrators insisting that their kids were sorry and their futures shouldn't be thrown away over something so minor.
The mother said she doesn't feel the event was minor or that the problem was resolved. Her son, she said, suffered a bruised rib and back injury. She has filed a report with the Forest Park Police Department and is seeking legal counsel in this matter. Oak Parker Anthony Clark, founder of the nonprofit social justice organization Suburban Unity Alliance and a Congressional candidate, has talked to the mother and may organize a Safe Passage program for students who don't feel safe walking to or from school.
When contacted about this mother's response, Cavallo said: "We cannot comment on questions regarding individual students. However, it is our practice to work proactively with students involved in conflicts of all kinds. But we cannot and do not issue consequences to students for behavioral incidents that occur outside of school hours and off of school grounds."
Forest Park Chief of Police Tom Aftanas said detectives are investigating and attempting to identify all involved.