'You failed to protect me': Students speak out during heated meeting at Fenton High School

New bombshell accusations were made public on Wednesday at a scandal-plagued Fenton High School.

A teacher accused of sexual misconduct has been fired, but parents and students say it’s not enough. Now, they are calling on Fenton Community High School District 100 Superintendent James Ongtengco, along with the entire school board, to resign.

A school board meeting on Wednesday was standing room only with students, parents, and community members there to put pressure on the board – one they allege has been protecting the accused staffer.

The allegations against the former teacher only surfaced recently, but they date back several years.

On Wednesday evening, silence filled the school library when a victim of the accused came forward publicly – stunning the board and the community.

The 2022 Fenton graduate's emotional speech closed out a fiery public comment session, which the board limited to 30 minutes. Community members grilled school officials – demanding to know just how much they knew and why the allegations only recently came to light.

"You failed to support me and other young girls who were assaulted and groomed by a monster that you protected, empowered, and promoted as a community hero," said Xochitl Quinones, former student. "He had a pattern of victims and none of you seem to care."

Current students who addressed the board Wednesday said they are traumatized, sharing that they haven’t felt safe in the halls of the school.

This all stems from an ongoing police investigation into alleged misconduct by a former Fenton High School teacher, who’s been accused of inappropriate sexual relations with students.

A spokesperson with the Bensenville Police Department says they were made aware of an alleged crime last October. It apparently occurred at Fenton High School at least seven years prior. Detectives have been investigating ever since.

Meanwhile, community members now claim school officials have been hiding the allegations and covering up for the former staffer. Parents also allege that the sexual misconduct dates back further than seven years.

"It is fair to ask our leaders to be accountable and explain to us why you did what you did, because it is now hurting us," said Patrick Escobedo, president, Fenton Education Association.

The accused employee was placed on administrative leave late last year. FOX 32 Chicago is not yet naming him, as no criminal charges have been filed.

"Our hope to see right now is a clean slate. We need action, we need everything to be changed, we need to start over, we need a fresh board, we need a fresh superintendent, we need a fresh principal," said Julia Styrczula, parent.

There was speculation that some board members might be resigning Wednesday evening – but that did not happen.  

Only one board member commented to FOX 32 Chicago on Wednesday evening. On her way into closed session, Sylvia Hayde said she had no knowledge of the allegations prior to them surfacing publicly, and that she, too, is a parent and knows things need to be made right.

Supt. Ongtengco declined to comment on the situation Wednesday night. He last made a statement on the matter Monday in a letter to families where he said, in part:

"We are committed to maintaining the safety of our students. In doing so, we always partner with local law enforcement when allegations of a crime are shared with us. Upon receiving information on this situation, we followed mandatory reporting requirements and notified law enforcement immediately. We utilized our school resource officer and other administrative resources to follow internal processes to ensure our school remained safe while fully cooperating with law enforcement in the confidential gathering of information."

In the same communication that was sent to families, School Board President Cary Lewis said, in part:

"Our school board and community is committed to fostering a safe and supportive learning environment. We recognize frustrations exist when sensitive issues arise and require careful consideration and confidential dialogue."

Full Statement from the Bensenville Police Department:

"In October of 2023, Bensenville police were made aware of an alleged crime that occurred at least seven years prior at Fenton High School. In the five months since that report was taken, we have been conducting an investigation into the allegations and once completed will turn our findings over to the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office. Portions of our investigation were released through a Freedom of Information Act request and this investigation remains ongoing. If anyone has any information on this matter, we encourage you to contact the Bensenville Police Department."