Ledbetter files charges vs. OPRF

Former head baseball coach seeks reinstatement; varsity off to 6-0 start

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By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

Since his firing as Oak Park and River Forest High School head baseball coach, Chris Ledbetter has taken steps to reverse that decision. Ledbetter was replaced by Joe Parenti as the Huskies' head coach on March 22 but remains a physical education teacher at OPRF.

Ledbetter and his attorney, Tom Cronin, are trying to arrange a meeting with OPRF officials; however, no meeting has occurred.

"We received a communication from School District 200 that they referred the situation to their lawyers," Cronin said. "I was informed via a letter on March 27 that they would respond after they had considered all the relevant information. Since time is of the essence, I reached out to the school district again on March 29 and let them know we would welcome an open dialogue promptly. I received another response via letter saying they would get back to me once all the relevant information had been considered.

"Because of the school district's silence," Cronin said, "we filed a formal charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Illinois Department of Human Rights."

The Wednesday Journal sent Freedom of Information Act requests to both state agencies but both FOIAs were denied. The complaints remain confidential unless the agencies decide to take action. 

On April 11, Ledbetter called Wednesday Journal, saying he looks forward to an in-depth interview regarding his dismissal. However, he has been advised not to talk until OPRF officials reveal the specific reasons for his firing.

Wednesday Journal contacted OPRF for comments about this story. Karin Sullivan, the school's director of communications and community relations, said any questions should be submitted to OPRF's FOIA officer, Gail Kalmerton. 

OPRF baseball players and their parents were notified of the head coaching change via email from Principal Nathaniel Rouse and Athletic Director John Stelzer on the evening of March 22.

At the end of the 2018 season, OPRF plans to conduct a search to hire a permanent head baseball coach per the school district's usual hiring process.

Ledbetter, an OPRF alumnus, was successful as the program's head coach. In 17 seasons, he coached the Huskies to a 443-170-2 overall record and five state final appearances, highlighted by a 4A state championship in 2012.

Despite inclement weather and several game cancellations, the OPRF varsity baseball team is off to a 6-0 start under Parenti's guidance this spring.

Email: marty@oakpark.com Twitter: @OakParkSports

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