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Choir teacher resigns amid contests scandal

OREGON – The Oregon choir teacher has resigned in the wake of violations that apparently took place at this year’s state high school solo and ensemble contest.

The school board accepted Mitch Lauer’s resignation, effective April 23, at this week’s meeting.

Lauer was placed on paid administrative leave April 9 after school officials were informed of a rules violation at the March 2 competition at West Carroll High School in Savanna.

According to Illinois High School Association records, Oregon scored 240 points and took first place in Class B in this year’s vocal competition.

Superintendent Tom Mahoney said earlier this month that an investigation by school officials, in cooperation with the IHSA, revealed that the rules violations did occur.

“Under the direction of their teacher, at both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 IHSA Solo and Ensemble Contests, Oregon High School students participated under the names of other students and therefore violated IHSA rules,” Mahoney said in a news release.

As a result, the IHSA placed the OHS music program on probation for 2 years and sanctioned Lauer.

The sanctions mean he is prohibited from participating in any way with OHS or any other IHSA member school during the IHSA Solo And Ensemble and Organizational Music Contests during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.

This includes but is not limited to attending the contests, managing and directing at the contests, and having contact with students during the contests.

The music program’s probationary status does not deprive the school of any of its privileges as an IHSA member. It does, however, serve as an official warning that any further violation of IHSA bylaws or other organization rules could bring more serious consequences.

The school district also imposed its own sanctions on the music program.

OHS vacated its placement in the contest and returned all trophies and plaques associated with the accomplishment. OHS officials also met individually with each student who broke the rules and collected any medals earned under a different student’s name.

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