Former Teacher Sentenced To 35 Years For Rape, Child Pornography

SKOKIE, IL — A former high school teacher and scholastic bowl coach was sentenced to 35 years in prison after admitting to raping at least one former student and possessing child pornography.

Mathew Laird, 33, is a former teacher at North Shore Academy in Highland Park and Loyola Academy in Wilmette, according to police and school officials. He was also a quiz bowl coach and club sponsor at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

Laird pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault and possession of child pornography in exchange for prosecutors dropping dozens of other charges.

The former teacher was arrested last October following an investigation triggered by a tip in January 2018 that someone had uploaded child pornography on a website normally used for adult pornography. Detectives from a Cook County task force got a search warrant after tracing the upload to an internet address associated with his Glenview home, where he lived alone, authorities said.

Investigators seized electronic devices containing hundreds of videos and images of child pornography, some including sexual acts with children under 5, as well as several hundred images of current and former female high school students, "both pornographic and non-pornographic," according to police and prosecutors. Detectives began working on identifying the women and girls pictured in Laird's illicit collection.

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7-year-old takes loaded gun to St. Paul’s Highland Park Elementary

A second-grader took a loaded handgun to a St. Paul elementary school on Wednesday, according to police.

Someone at Highland Park Elementary became aware of the gun and a staff member called police about 10:20 a.m. to report it was in a student’s backpack. A school resource officer responded and took the gun, which had a trigger lock on it, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman.

“There were no reports of threats being made or the gun being pointed at anyone and there were no injuries,” Linders said. There was also no intent to use the weapon, principal Nancy Flynn wrote to parents on Wednesday.

The 7-year-old student was turned over to his mother. She had reported her gun stolen on Sunday and “it looks like it’s possible her son had it,” according to Linders.

Police are investigating how the student got the gun and how his mother stored the weapon to determine whether she could face charges.

Flynn wrote to parents she was “disappointed to share” that she learned Wednesday morning a student may have brought a weapon to school. Staff responded immediately and found a handgun. Flynn noted the trigger lock prevents the gun from being used.

“We will not tolerate any behavior that puts our school, students or staff at risk,” Flynn continued. “There are consequences for students in situations like this and we will follow our standard discipline procedures.”


Lyons Middle School Student Dies After Shooting Himself On Campus

A seventh grade student at a Lyons middle school died after shooting himself at the school Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Ray Hanania, a spokesperson for the district, said around 1:30 p.m. The Washington Middle School student shot himself. He was taken to Loyola Hospital and later died.

Police said no other students, faculty or staff at the school were ever in danger. Hanania said there is currently no evidence showing the student had any plans to carry out a mass shooting.

The school was put on lockdown and students were released around 2:30 p.m.

Lyons village president Christopher Getty said he and the Village of Lyons express their condolences to the student’s family.

“This kind of incident is always a great tragedy for everyone, the family, the students, the school and the entire community,” Getty said. “We’re heartbroken to hear that this happened.”

The name of the student has not been released.

Lyons police are handling the investigation.

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Teen arrested for bringing loaded gun to Hunter’s Lane High School

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - Metro police have charged a teenager for bringing a loaded gun to school.

Police say the 17-year-old boy was carrying a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol loaded with 5 bullets.  They found the gun in his fanny pack. The boy refused to say where it came from

A classmate at Hunters Lane High School saw the gun and reported it to his parent who called the school.

The teen is charged with carrying a gun on school property. He's also charged with aggravated assault for displaying the gun to another student during an argument.


Former Athens teacher sentenced to prison in student rape case

A former science teacher at Athens High School was sentenced Monday to at least seven years in prison for having a sexual relationship with a student.

Tyler Millward, 30, of Springfield, was sentenced to seven to 20 years after pleading guilty in February to criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, using a computer to commit a crime, lying to police and attempted intimidation of the victim.

Millward was accused of beginning an affair with a then-16-year-old student in June 2017. The affair lasted several months. The student became pregnant and has a 4-month old son.

"You were given a position of trust," Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge John Hallacy said. "You were asked to take care of and to educate our children. We turn our kids over to teachers at the age of four or five and we trust you, blindly almost.

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US teachers’ unions oppose bill to make sex with students a crime

eachers’ unions in the state of Rhode Island came out to show their opposition to a bill that would criminalize sex between employees and students, complaining that the bill unfairly singled out school employees.

Representatives from the Rhode Island chapters of the United Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association registered their objection to a bill that would make sex between school employees and students a crime, closing a loophole that fails to protect students over the age of 16, who are legally old enough to consent, but still under the care of school employees.

UFT representative James Parisi actually testified against the measure during the hearing, complaining that the proposed law unfairly singles out school employees and expressing concern that other random adults – such as store managers and legislators – aren’t included, GoodSchoolHunting reported.

Parisi also claimed that teachers getting busy with students “isn’t really a problem” in Rhode Island, adding that teachers caught in flagrante were punished enough with the loss of their job and state teaching license.

However, Rhode Island received a near-failing grade in a USA Today investigation of states’ background check practices, thanks to poor mandatory reporting laws and weak rules regarding sharing information on teacher misconduct with other states – meaning a teacher booted from their position for having sex with a student could simply cross state lines and start teaching again with a clean slate, depending on that state’s own background check procedures.

Rhode Island is one of the few US states that have no “in loco parentis” exceptions to their statutory rape laws that protect minors above the age of consent from abuse by adults in positions of power over them – whether they’re teachers, scout leaders, clergy, or other authority figures.

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Student shot in attack by fellow student at Arkansas school

PRESCOTT, Ark. — A student was airlifted to a hospital Monday after being shot by a fellow student at an Arkansas school in a what appears to be a “premeditated attack,” according to authorities.

The gunfire was reported Monday morning at a school in Prescott, about 90 miles southwest of Little Rock.

The Prescott School District said in a statement that one student brought a concealed handgun onto campus and shot another student, who was injured and airlifted to a hospital. The shooter was taken into custody by law enforcement, and that no other injuries were reported, according to the school.

“It appears this was a premeditated attack specifically targeting the injured student,” the school said in the statement.

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Second Parkland student dies by apparent suicide

For the second time in less than a week, a student who survived last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has died by apparent suicide, police confirmed Sunday.

The male juvenile, who was still a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, died Saturday night, according to Coral Springs Police spokesman Tyler Reik. Detectives and the county medical examiner’s office are continuing to investigate the matter.

Reik said the student's name and personal information will not be released because he is still a juvenile.

The student's death comes just days after the family of 19-year-old Sydney Aiello confirmed Friday she had died by suicide after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt that stemmed from the February 2018 shooting, where 17 people were killed.

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National College Fraud Scheme Highlights Flaws in Admissions Process

Federal prosecutors charged 33 parents, along with two SAT/ACT administrators, an exam proctor, nine coaches and three organizers with involvement in a college admissions fraud scheme on Tuesday.

Documents released by the U.S. Department of Justice assert that William Singer, a well-connected college admissions adviser, sold two forms of fraud to wealthy Hollywood elites and corporate executives, in which students would cheat on their SAT/ACT exams, artificially inflating their scores, or bribe college coaches to fake athleticism. Some would utilize both options.

In the first, students would either have another student take the exam in their place, or have proctors change their answers after taking the test. In some cases, applicants were told to provide a fake reason, such as a family wedding, in order to take the exam in one of the two testing centers that Singer could bribe.

"In many instances, the students taking the exams were unaware that their parents had arranged for this cheating," according to the federal complaint, which was filed in Massachusetts.

In the second option, Singer would bribe coaches at elite universities. He would then provide a fake profile of the student, at times including falsified information of the students' sports experiences and photoshopped photos of the students playing the sport. Coaches would use the profile to internally convince administrators to accept the student.

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