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COLES COUNTY: OP case involving teacher could shed light on some of the problems Mattoon schools face

Posted by on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 @ 6:40 pm.

COLES CO., Ill. – There are definite problems within Illinois school districts…and something that’s happened with a science teacher at Mattoon High School underscores this.

Further, the situation as it stands with a huge number of kids being bullied within Mattoon Schools might have an underlying explanation that begins with this specific matter and what’s evidenced in it…because the school district has kept on a teacher who, court documents show, is a bully in her own right.

It all revolves around science teacher Deanna Lynn Helms MacDonald, 44.

MacDonald had been married for 17 years to Matt MacDonald before they were divorced in February of 2014. The MacDonalds had separated in 2013, and in September of that year Matt began dating a woman named Alissa, whom he eventually married.

On July 16, 2015, Matt filed a petition for an order of protection against his ex. He listed in his petition allegations that she had been sending him threatening and harassing emails; acted in a threatening and harassing manner during visitation exchanges of their three children; appeared uninvited at his home; yelled and screamed obscenities at him and family members; and made obscene gestures toward him and family members.

Additionally, Matt alleged that his ex had been physically, emotionally and mentally abusive during their marriage; and over the past few months her aggression and threatening manner had escalated, and he felt unsafe.

The judge who heard the petition ordered, on July 27, 2015, the following, not in the OP case, but in the divorce case: That neither party shall contact each other at their place of employment except for emergencies, and only relating to the children. They were prohibited from going to the other person’s employment or residence, unless it’s to pick up or drop off the children, or by invitation (through email only) due to a change in the pickup/dropoff times.

Apparently, the judge believed that would be enough to stop whatever behavior was prompting the necessity for the OP. That wasn’t to be the case.

On Sept. 21, 2015, Matt filed a petition for leave to add his new wife Alissa as a protected person on the petition, as they’d been married August 9, 2015. She was, he claimed, a “necessary party” because she resided in the same household as Matt…and she’d received threats and intimidation from Deanna.

With the OP still pending and going through court hearings, on October 23, 2105, Judge James Glenn allowed the motion to include MacDonald’s new wife, but the final decision on the OP was still dragging through the court, as well as the pending post-divorce matters.

Across the many hearings held on the OP, testimony showed that Deanna was abusive to Matt during their marriage in that she had hit, kicked and punched him, thrown things at him, had pulled knives out, had tried to run him over with the car, and during the marriage had told him she “thought every day of different ways to make his life miserable” and “couldn’t wait for the fire department to show up to tell her he’d been killed in a fire.” Matt added that almost daily, she would “get on her hands and knees in front of the children and pray for a divorce.”

But after that divorce, things got worse.

Matt claimed that Deanna verbally threatened him, his wife Alissa, Alissa’s mother, Matt’s friend, Matt’s father, and Matt’s brother on multiple and separate occasions. An example of this would be what happened in February of 2014, when he went to Deanna’s house to retrieve his personal property, accompanied by his father, the friend he’d mentioned, and his brother. The items he was there to pick up had been destroyed: Deanna had cut the wires on a jet ski, slashed the seat of a motorcycle, cut his mother’s head off of photographs, and had slashed the children’s artwork. While there, she had thrown a metal license plate at him. Matt testified that Deanna, her boyfriend Tony Mathias, and her brother Kelly Helms had all threatened to kill him. Further, Matt’s boat and truck had later been vandalized, and he’d had to install a security system and get a trained watch dog for protection. He said he’d had to attend counseling and be prescribed medication for post-traumatic stress from years and years of physical, mental and emotional abuse from his ex, and described how much worse things had gotten since he’d hooked up with his new wife. He went on to describe other horrific incidents that involved more screaming at him during visitation exchanges, and threats from Deanna that she was going to have him charged with a Class X felony because DCFS had been called on her for unsafe conditions with the kids. This latter claims, he said, was delivered, then she “charged him like an animal would charge at something.”

Matt then testified that since Judge Schick’s order on July 27, 2015, he had received approximately 30 emails, telephone calls and personal contacts from Deanna having nothing to do with visitation of the children – constituting a violation of the order within the dissolution proceedings. He said that between August and October 2015, she had harassed him continuously for reimbursement for expense related to the children, threatening him, yelling at him, and flipping him off; and she had done the same to Alissa, calling her a whore frequently. It got to the point, he said, where if they were in the same location such as an athletic event for the children, and Alissa needed to use the restroom, Matt had to keep an eye on Deanna so that Alissa wouldn’t be trapped and victimized, as had already happened on one occasion.

When asked what he feared would occur if he wasn’t granted the OP, Matt MacDonald said “I fear for my life. I fear that that will give her free reign to attack, to yell, to hit, to do whatever she can get away with, depending on the situation because there’s also evidence that she is not paying attention to the no-contact order; Deanna is not. She’s going to continue to escalate and revert right back to the behavior that she’s exhibited over the last 17 years.”

Alissa also gave riveting testimony, explaining how she was called names by Deanna (“Get out of my town you whore,” delivered by, not Deanna’s phone, but her son’s), had her driveway blocked by Deanna, and trailed her into a restroom at a sporting event. There, Deanna flung open the bathroom door, blocked Alissa’s exit, and questioned Alissa about her relationship with Matt.

More foul-mouthed tirades were testified to, and a voicemail left by Deanna for Matt in January of 2015 was played for the court: “Tell Matt to keep his mouth shut or I’m going to shut it for him, and I’m going to shut his mouth and anybody else’s mouth that gets in my way.”

Despite all this testimony, the judge determined that Alissa was “not a family or household member” and denied her relief. He further stated that many of the incidents described had happened “more than a year before the petition was filed,” and that many of the other incidents were “iffy” incidents of harassment.

The judge determined that because the statute calls for such incidents to be those that would “cause a reasonable person emotional distress,” he wasn’t quite persuaded that because of Matt’s previous post-traumatic stress, he was “reasonable,” and was more impacted by these actions than a ‘normal’ (presumably reasonable) person would have been.

The judge determined that there was no abuse or harassment, therefore, the OP was denied…and Matt MacDonald appealed the case to the appellate court in December of 2016.

The appellate court not only remanded the case back to Coles County almost immediately, but they ordered the judge to sign the OP because they found that Alissa was indeed a household member and should be protected, and that Matt MacDonald was, as he testified, badly abused, both during the marriage…and after its demise.

And the judge, James Glenn, sort of did that…but on Jan. 19, 2017, he made it effective only until March 2, 2018, when it should have been for two years, as a plenary order is. Further, he made exceptions to the stay-away order, which included Mattoon High School grounds, children’s events, and emergencies involving Deanna and children. He allowed the parties to communicate on issues involving children without restrictions. All of that, as was outlined in testimony, was exactly where Deanna was taking advantage of the situation, and being abusive toward the MacDonald family. In effect, even though he was ordered, the judge subverted the appeals court’s direction. And it’s been reported that even after the OP was issued, Deanna violated it by showing up at a dentist’s office at the same time Matt was there, and wouldn’t leave even though she knew he’d be there. The judge ruled this was not a violation.

And all of this is illustrative of what’s apparently “okay” behavior by the staff at Mattoon High, as there’s no possible way school admin could NOT know it’s happening.

There’s a growing awareness of what’s prompting bad behavior by our kids and grandkids: They’re acting out what they’re shown. When a kid sees an adult behaving badly, and there’s no corresponding recourse for the behavior, the kid sees it and imitates it, consciously or subconsciously. When a kid knows no punishment will be forthcoming, they get emboldened. And that makes for a bad situation that can get out of control quickly.

Why this judge wouldn’t abide by the very clear guidance by the appellate court is unknown.

Why Deanna MacDonald has been allowed to carry on like this unchecked is unknown.

What is known, through articles like this one and this one, is that there is a distinct problem with bullying in the schools in Mattoon, one so bad that a child is being charged with bringing a weapon to school and firing it at the people who’ve been bullying him.

What it’s going to take to bring all this under control, however, goes back to the unknown.

But Illinois’ culture of corruption is fomenting it…and it appears that we’re all going to have to be on our guard in order to protect ourselves, our kids and our grandkids, until this nonsense comes to an end and we can restore some normalcy, in our courts, in our schools, and in our very lives.

For those who refuse to believe this is all is documented (and there have been several, at our Facebook post about it, although most of them violated ground rules and were banned), if you click this link here, you’ll see the appeals court documents.

Below are the only OP documents that were available. We do not lie. There’s no need to when things are this bad.

Short URL: https://www.disclosurenewsonline.com/?p=96588

Posted by on Oct 18 2017. Filed under Breaking, Coles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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