BREAKING NEWS: Community disservice: Ten percent of OLCHS seniors won't graduate

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Approximately 10 percent of Oak Lawn Community High School’s senior class is not expected to participate in graduation ceremonies Wednesday night because they allegedly falsified paperwork indicating that they completed mandatory service hours.

School district officials realized last week that 47 seniors submitted service hour forms that included the forged signature of Stony Creek Golf Course Superintendent Bill Krueger. A 48th student has been banned from graduation ceremonies because he forged Krueger's signature on 45 of the forms, Supt. Michael Riordan said.

The student charged his classmates between $10 and $20 for each signature, Riordan said, and has served a five-day suspension from school.

Approximately 400 seniors will participate in graduation ceremonies Wednesday night at the Shannon Center at St. Xavier University.

“The kids did not meet graduation requirements,”  Riordan said Monday. They will receive their diplomas when they complete the required service hours.

The students who submitted falsified documents indicated that they had completed their required service hours by volunteering at Stony Creek Golf Course, which is part of the Oak Lawn Park District.

Students were informed last week during individual meetings that they would not participate in graduation ceremonies, Riordan said. District administrators also talked to the students’ parents on the phone or at the meetings, he said.

Riordan said administrators did not become aware of the deception until last week when they compared Krueger’s signature on two forms submitted at the last minute with ones handed in earlier in the year.

“The signatures looked different,” Riordan said. “It was a fabricated signature.”

Further examination revealed that all of the forms that bore Krueger’s signature were bogus, Riordan said.

Until that point, school officials had no reason to doubt the validity of the Krueger’s signature, the superintendent said.

They had confirmed earlier in the year with the park district’s volunteer coordinator that Krueger was authorized to sign service hour sheets, but no one at the park district had seen the signature, Riordan said.

A small number of parents asked the school to consider a different consequence, but “this is our policy,” Riordan said.

“There’s no one on this building that’s taking any pleasure in doing this,” he said, adding that most of the students expressed remorse for their actions.