O'Fallon Weekly April 24, 2019

Wednesday April 24, 2019 Shiloh hosts Easter Breakfast Page 16 Vol. 5, No. 1 $1.00 District 203 Board to decide teacher's future amid allegations of improper contact with students Large crowd speaks to JaRon Dent's character at Board of Education meeting By Nick Miller Weekly Editor O’FALLON - The District 203 Board of Education heard an hour and a half of nearly unanimous praise for teacher and coach JaRon Dent, who has been on administrative leave for most of the past two months as the district performs an investigation, at their meeting Tuesday evening. While the school district declined to comment as to the nature of the investigation, documents and reports obtained by the Weekly from the O’Fallon Police Department though the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the investigation into Dent could revolve around allegations of improper conduct with and grooming of female students. According to the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting, the Board had planned on possi- bly issuing disciplinary action onto Dent. However, at the start of the public portion of the meeting, Board President Lynda Cozad told the packed room that there would be no action taken regarding Dent that night. From there, a steady stream of colleagues, students, parents, and supporters stood and praised Dent as a kind and wonderful man, mentor, teacher, and coach. “I’m grateful to have known JaRon Dent, especially now when we have such a need See “District 203” on page 7 Following the conclusion of public comment, friends and supporters offered JaRon Dent hugs and words of encouragement. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller) Suspect in custody in connection to Sports Park homicide By Nick Miller Weekly Editor O’FALLON - A suspect in connection to Monday morning’s homicide was taken into custody in Memphis, Tennessee, late that evening. Andrew Montez McKissick was taken into custody by the Memphis Police Department without incident at around 11:50 p.m. on April 22. He is being held pending extradition to Illinois on unrelated charges. In This Edition Calendar..................................................3 News................................................... 4-7 Business...................................................8 Law & Order............................................9 Education ..........................................10-12 Health & Wellness ���������������������������������� 13 Sports................................................14-15 Community............................................. 16 Milestones..........................................17-18 Vantage Point......................................... 19 Lifestyle..................................................20 Fun & Games.......................................... 21 Marketplace...........................................22 Bon Appétit............................................23 On Wednesday, April 24, McKissick was charged with three counts: one count of first degree homicide, one count of aggrivated arson, and one count of ag- grivated battery. He is still in Memphis and is being held on $2 million bond. On Monday, April 22, the O’Fallon Police responded to calls of a person and vehicle on fire at 7:23 a.m. near the Family Sports Andrew Montez McKissick Sherry Billups Park in the 300 block of Obernuefemann Road. When first responders arrived they found bystande- March of this year, honeymooning in Las Vegas. The couple were grade school sweethearts. rs attempting to help a woman who was on fire. Emergen- However, McKissick has a troubled past with an exten- cy responders rendered aid, but she was later pronounced sive violent criminal history, including convictions for ag- deceased by the St. Clair County Coroners office. gravated battery on a police officer, aggravated discharge The victim, identified by O’Fallon Police as 35-year-old of a firearm, and unlawful restraint. Sherry J. Billups, resided in the 600 block of West Madi- Following the event at the Sports Park Monday mor- son in O’Fallon. She worked at the O’Fallon Post Office ning, the Illinois State Police put out an alert for a 2002 and had two children. Chevrolet Z71 extended cab pick up with black trim that A candlelight vigil was held in Billups' honor on Tue- sday, April 23, at the Sports Park. Around 25 people came was heading south, possibly to Alabama or Mississippi. The O’Fallon Police ask anyone with information to call out and remembered her life. them at (618) 624-9589. McKissick and Billups were only recently married in