A current Oak Park and River Forest High School gym teacher and former varsity baseball coach was recently arrested on drug-related charges, according to the Oak Lawn Patch. 

Chris Ledbetter, 47, of Elmhurst, was stopped by police in Bridgeview at around 10:19 p.m. on July 24 for failing to signal while making a left turn, Patch reports, adding that after the teacher failed to provide a valid driver’s license, police took him into custody. 

While searching Ledbetter’s vehicle, officers discovered “white powder inside a cigarette pack in the driver’s door,” according to Patch. The powder turned out to be 1.5 grams of cocaine. 

On July 25, Ledbetter appeared in a Bridgeview courthouse on charges of possession of a controlled substance. A judge released him on a $20,000 I-bond and ordered him to undergo regular drug testing throughout the length of his case. He’s next due in court on Aug. 15. 

When contacted by email last Wednesday evening, Bridgeview Police Chief Ricardo Mancha directed questions to the courthouse. According to Patch, Ledbetter did not have a criminal record prior to last Tuesday’s arrest. 

The gym teacher, however, has been the subject of some recent controversy. In March, Ledbetter was let go as the head coach of the varsity baseball team at OPRF — one season after he’d taken a leave of absence. 

According to a Wednesday Journal report published at the time, five parents of OPRF baseball players expressed concerns about Ledbetter’s “erratic and disconcerting behavior during games.

“The behavior has manifested itself what these parents perceive to be peculiar mannerisms, capricious decision-making and excessively harsh verbal treatment of players,” according to the report. “He has been deemed untrustworthy as well by several people critical of his behavior on and off the field.” 

After he was let go, Ledbetter tried to get reinstated to his position by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Karin Sullivan, District 200’s communications director, said on July 25 that Ledbetter is still currently employed as a gym teacher at OPRF. In a subsequent statement released July 31, Sullivan said that “there are no updates on Mr. Ledbetter’s status. It is still an ongoing investigation by the Bridgeview Police Department.” 

She did not comment on whether or not Ledbetter has faced any workplace discipline in the past, but added that “while each personnel issue is unique, all personnel decisions in the district are guided by applicable state laws, board policies, and collective bargaining agreements and are made with student and employee safety in mind.” 

Attempts to contact Ledbetter’s lawyer, Tom Cronin, by Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful. 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com    

Join the discussion on social media!