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Hinsdale High board member calls cops over Facebook photo posted by teachers

Hinsdale High School graduation 2014
Hinsdale High School graduation 2014
Photo by Scott Paulson

A Hinsdale Township High School District 86 board member has filed a police report after a photo of a hatchet lodged in a car has been posted on Facebook. The photo, which has been shared by some teachers on the social media web site, is being considered a threat by the board member. The incident has happened during contract negotiations between the Hinsdale High School Board and the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association. According to a Chicago Tribune report on Thursday, however, local police do not believe further investigation regarding the online photos is necessary.

Initially, the photo - which concerned a board member enough to have him or her run to the police – was posted along with an article about the contract negations between the teachers and the school board on the Patch news web site. After that, it was shared on a Facebook page that is for Hinsdale teachers, say the police. Police will not say which of the school board members approached police to make the complaint even though some members of the community are curious to know which one would do such a thing.

At a school board meeting on Monday, Richard Skoda – the president of Hinsdale High School’s school board – and another board member by the name of Claudia Manley made reference to the photo incident. The photo was referred to as violent and disconcerting. According to the Hinsdale Township High School District 86 web site, there are five other members on the board. They are Edward Corcoran who is the vice president, Victor Casini who is the secretary, as well as Kay S. Gallo, Michael M. Kuhn, and Jennifer Planson.

Board member Manley claims that the school board’s attorney has advised them that the social media incident is a direct and overt threat to the board. President Skoda released a written statement which calls the photo alarming. He also reprimanded the teachers’ union for allegedly leaving the photo posted for four days with the comments that were posted along with it. In his statement, Skoda called the comments disturbing. His written statement says that the photo is offensive and overtly suggestive of violence and as such does not belong in civil discourse.

Personally, at the school board meeting on Monday, he is said to have rebuked teachers in the audience who did not share his concern over the photo. Skoda thought he had the right to lecture them by saying, “What is so funny about this violence? If we have teachers laughing – shame on you.”

The teachers’ union’s spokesperson, Mike Palmquist may have summed it up best. He said that the accusation by board members that the photo was intended to indicate a possibility of violence or criminal activity is a ridiculous accusation. He called the accusation completely groundless. Again, police authorities apparently agreed as they are not pursuing an investigation of any type.

The Hinsdale High School teachers and their school board have been at a standstill in contract negotiations for months, according to a Sun-Times report. The teacher authorized a strike – by vote – at the end of May. The struggle is over health benefits and salary.

Patch, who initially posted the hatchet photo, said that it was an error. It has removed the photo. Additionally, the Facebook page administrators have also removed the photo that shook up some school board members. Now, the board members will hopefully to get back to serious business as the school year is about to begin and the teachers still don’t have a contract. Hinsdale High School is allegedly one of the finest high schools in the state of Illinois. Yet, this school continues to make headlines with bizarre incidents. The last time they made headlines, it was over a gun on a senior student’s t-shirt. Now it is over a photo of a hatchet on Facebook.