Band teacher for Beecher schools suspended after hidden cameras found in high school

November 29, 2018

BEECHER — James F. Vidmar, who teaches music for Beecher Community School District 200U, was suspended without pay after hidden cameras were found in the high school.

During a special meeting on Monday, the district’s school board voted to suspend the 44-year-old Vidmar, of Mokena.

Three unauthorized, hidden video cameras were discovered in the small rooms and offices around the perimeter of the music room, according to a letter sent to district parents from Superintendent Brad Cox on Nov. 27.

Police were contacted by school staff after the cameras were discovered.

No cameras were found at the junior high.

“No school personnel has direct knowledge of what is specifically on these cameras, as it is an on-going police matter. If and when we learn the contents of any recordings, all affected persons will be notified,” according to the letter.

Cox said counselors and staff are on hand at the high school should students need additional support.

Initially, Vidmar, who has taught at Beecher for 14 years, was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 15.

“His abrupt removal from the classroom was done to safeguard our children, as student safety and their well-being is always of paramount importance,” Cox said in the letter.

He was arrested and charged with criminal trespass on Nov. 16 after he was found on school grounds, according to Beecher Police Department’s online blotter report.

Part of the terms of his leave was that Vidmar was prohibited from returning to school district property. He posted the required bond and was released pending a court appearance.

Police Chief Gregory D. Smith said in a release the investigation is ongoing “and due to the sensitivity of the incident and protecting the anonymity of the victims, no further information can be released at this time.”

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