Dear RPS Community:
I hope you are enjoying your summer. Regretfully, I must inform you of a situation that has happened in our school district.
During the late morning of Friday, July 8, I received a phone call from one of our crew (rowing) parents informing me that a video camera was found in the crew vehicle which contained inappropriate footage. We immediately contacted the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and turned the camera over to detectives within the hour; they began a comprehensive investigation resulting in the arrest of crew coach Tim Vallier Friday evening. Vallier is currently lodged in the Kent County jail on $100,000 bond.
Once I became aware of the video, my first priority was to contact law enforcement in the hopes of identifying and getting the perpetrator off the streets to protect our students. Thanks to the excellent work of detectives, this happened within 12 hours of the district learning about the video. Law enforcement asked that this be kept confidential while they conducted their investigation.
My priority then shifted to ensuring the integrity of the investigation so that justice can be served. On Sunday, as soon as it was appropriate, I notified crew parents by email. I am also meeting with those parents Monday evening.
Regardless of criticisms and misinformation circulating on social media, we acted based on direction from law enforcement and I stand by how we handled this situation and our priorities of 1) getting the alleged perpetrator off the streets and 2) not doing anything to breach the investigation.
My thoughts are with those affected. The fact that this can happen despite all of our safeguards to protect students is extremely troubling. The district will be kept apprised of the judicial and legal processes and I assure you that we will act swiftly and appropriately.
Dr. Mike Shibler, Superintendent
Rockford Public Schools