'Shock and Devastation' at Accusations Wrestling Coach Had Sex with Student: Principal

The fallout from a beloved teacher's alleged sexual misconduct with a student is just beginning, said Principal Theresa Nolan.

Ryan Dolan, 29, accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a teen-aged student at Tinley Park High School.
Ryan Dolan, 29, accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a teen-aged student at Tinley Park High School.
It was anything but a typical Monday morning at Tinley Park High School.

Students and staff returned to halls electric with the news of a beloved teacher's alleged misdeed as word of Ryan Dolan's arrest trickled through the school. 

Dolan, 29, of Tinley Park, was arrested Saturday and is charged with two counts of felony criminal sexual assault against a student, accused of having sex with a student under the age of 18. Bail was set at $250,000 Monday afternoon.

Principal Theresa Nolan received the unnerving phone call about Dolan from Tinley Park Police Saturday. 

"Two words that come first to mind: shock and devastation," Nolan said. 

The initial shock that a talented, respected teacher and varsity wrestling coach could commit such an act—"then as fellow educators, the feel of devastation just comes flooding on in."

Dolan was a favorite among his students. With the school since 2008, the 20-something history buff was "an amazing teacher," Nolan said. He was set to take the reins of the school's AP Econ and Government program next school year, she added. 

"No one would have ever assumed or expected this to be the case," she said. "He had a very, very bright future ahead of him."

Few details of the case have been divulged, just that Dolan had sexual contact with a female student under the age of 18, and is also under investigation for allegations of child pornography. 

The behavior is not indicative of Dolan's previous record at the school, Nolan said. She and District 228 Superintendent Bill Kendall attended Dolan's hearing Monday afternoon. He is suspended with pay and will not be allowed on campus, said Kendall in a statement to parents Monday afternoon. The District 228 Board of Education could take action against Dolan at its March 18 meeting.

But their main focus falls on the students. The school has set in motion its crisis intervention team, with counselors on hand for students, and more ready if need be. 

"We’re probably looking for more people to take advantage of that support system now that it’s been made official through the media," Nolan said. 

Students were outraged over the charges against Dolan, some reportedly chanting "Leave him alone" to reporters at the school Monday, one Tinley Park Patch Facebook fan said. Staff members are also angry, shocked and disturbed by the news, Nolan said.

"Just as much as our students need the support and understanding to get through this, I have plenty of staff that need a lot of support, too," she said. 

"I'm never going to let the actions of one speak for the greatness that goes on at TPHS," Nolan said. "There are too many people who work so hard, that are so wonderfully professional, and care so much about our kids.

"I’m not going to let this define us."

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Lauren Traut March 12, 2014 at 02:28 PM
I completely understand your frustration, but there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to what the filter is pulling, at this point in time.
Lauren Traut March 12, 2014 at 03:48 PM
Not true, Joyce. I'm not removing your comments.


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