Former Johnsburg St. John the Baptist School Principal Pamela Dvonch Arrested for Disorderly Conduct

Johnsburg Village Hall

Johnsburg Village Hall

A press release from the Johnsburg Police Department:

“The Johnsburg Police Department announced today the arrest of a Johnsburg resident for Disorderly Conduct.

“On March 26th, 2013 the Johnsburg Police Department received the first of 16 reports of ‘offensive’ style letters being received by parents of current and former students of St. John the Baptist School, the Pastor and a parishioner.

“During the course of the investigation officers were able to identify Pamela C. Dvonch as the author of the letters and subsequently filed official charges on Sunday April 07th, 2013.

“Dvonch self-surrendered to the Johnsburg Police Department where she was processed and released after posting bond.”

St. John the Baptist Catholic School.

St. John the Baptist Catholic School.

Pamela C. Dvonch (female -63)
1607 W. Sunnyside Beach Dr.
Johnsburg, IL. 60051
Charges: Disorderly Conduct (class C Misdemeanor)
Bond: $120.00
Next Court Date: May 01st, 2013 8:30 a.m.

Pamela Dvonch

Pamela Dvonch

Pamela Dvonch is listed as the Principal of Johnburg’s St. John The Baptist Catholic School on the Regional Superintendent of Schools’ web site, but the school’s web site says Mrs. Maureen Jackson is now the principal and was hired in 2012.


Former Johnsburg St. John the Baptist School Principal Pamela Dvonch Arrested for Disorderly Conduct — 15 Comments

  1. Pamela Dvonch is not the current principal of St. John’s She was, but was fired.

    The current principal is Maureen Jackson.

  2. Oh, boy, they’re stretching with this charge.

    Disorderly conduct is tough to make stick on basis of written letters this because flies dangerously close to protected speech under First Amendment (she likely has a decent Fourth Amendment challenge, to boot).

    Jburg PD knows precisely how flimsy this charge is because the best adjective they can sling at Dvonch’s letters is that they’re “offensive” (rather than being “threatening,” “alarming,” etc.).

    Prediction: Easy acquittal for lack of probable cause. Malicious prosecution suit settles a year and a half from now in the neighborhood of $20k.

  3. Mattmac – well, that would depend on the content.

    Were they signed or anonymous?


    Using foul language?

    It seemed to upset parents enough to as for security at the school.

    There are limits as to what you can do with free speech.

  4. “McHenry”….are you serious?

    “There are limits as to what you can do with free speech”?

    Yes, of course, like purposely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater with the intent to harm…you are right.

    But, otherwise, you are frightfully WRONG.

    The 1st Amendment was precisely written to protect “offensive” speech.

    Pleasant and agreeable speech really doesn’t need constitutional protection by its very nature.

    Think with your brain, “McHenry”.

    We are living in a police state. The Johnsburg Police Department needs to re-read the 1st Amendment to the Constitution again.

  5. Mattmac is absolutely right.

    The Johnsburg police department is an absolute disgrace.

    Who do they think they are?

    Always, always, always error on the side of protection of speech.

    What’s happening to our nation?

    We can burn a flag as “free speech”, but sending out “offensive” letters is prohibited?

    Thomas Jefferson would be sickened by the actions of our Police Departments of today.

  6. If we have learned anything from the outrageous incidents of school violence this nation has seen, it has been that threatening behavior must be addressed.

    As a church member, I am glad the police did something to intervene.

    Alarming behavior cannot go unaddressed, if it is who knows what the consequence might be.

    Freedom of speech mst be protected, there is no arguing that.

    There are certain types of behavior that cross the line and therefore fall outside of that protection.

    Once that line is crossed, it is no longer about individual liberty but rather about the protection of the greater good.

    I do not know what the letters said, but I think it is safe to assume a line must have been crossed here.

    Otherwise why would this have been reported to the police to begin with.

    The children are safe, the person responsible will face consequences. Sounds like the situation was handled appropriately

  7. Then brace yourself for Priests and Pastors who will soon be arrested for speaking out against homosexuality.

    That’s next. They’ll call it threatening hate speech.

    SPEECH is speech. Action, is action. “Peace”, you are too easily letting go of sacred rights and falling for the “security” ruse. Even that argument if “real” is not tenable constitutionally.

    “Those who are willing to give up freedom for the sake of security, deserve neither.” – Ben Franklin

  8. We are all entitled to our opinion. I believe until one of us knows the content of the letters, judgement should not be passed on the action of the authorities. I am not suggesting anyone give up there constitutional freedoms, I am suggesting there might be more to the story.

    Call me a dreamer, but I believe if an arrest was made it was because a violation of law occurred. The protections of the constitution are strong so the violation must have been stronger. The letters must have gone beyond the guise of freedom of speech into the relm of “alarming or disturbing” the persons receiving them if criminal charges were filed. This conversation would best be had if we knew the whole story.

    The courts will decide if this was a matter of freedom of speech or if it was criminal behavior. For now, we should all be thankful that the situation had a peaceful resolution. I know our Founding Fathers formed this Great Country on strong ideals. I support those ideals to the fullest. I do not believe eiter Ben Franklin nor Thomas Jefferson ever imagined the day where the horrific acts of violence we see in the present day. I believe I know the nation they envisioned because it is the one I also dream about… Freedom, Equality, Justice for All…

    If I understand correctly the distrubed individuals that committed the murders at Columbine were sharing poetry and posting blogs about mass killings and vengeance prior to those killings and the police took no action (freedom of speech, right?!). Even after the parents of other children called the police and informed them of the disturbing statements from one of the murders, the police did not act. I am not suggesting the letters that went out in Johnsburg were anything like those. I am just saying if the police would have investigated those allegations in Columbine and arrested those boys, who knows how the situation might have ended. Instead the police did not act and we all know the horrible result.

    I am glad the Johnsburg Police did something. I don’t know what the letters said. If they scared someone or were offensive, I am glad the police addressed the situation before it escalated. Just my humble opinion.

  9. Wow. That’s really all I can say.

    So, if she’s a psychopath, how does a $120 bond prevent her from seriously harming someone if that is her real desire.

    Wake up, Peace. The first Amendment is a big deal and police departments are disregarding it. Wait until one day when you wake up, and you are the one they target.

    Again, the First Amendment was written precisely to protect offensive speech. Who decides what’s offensive language legitimizing arrest? The Police? Sorry, not for me. It’s getting worse and you’re allowing it.

  10. I received one of these letters.

    I know what it said along with the other 15 people who received it.

    The police were called because letter writer wanted it to be known that these letters were somehow attached to a school.

    A school where 90% of the recipients children attend.

    This was not a nasty mass email generated in a fit of rage and sent without a second thought.


    It was calculated.

    Stretching over the course of a week letter after letter was opened.

    The police officer asked if I was alarmed and disturbed by the contents of the letter.

    Yes I answered, yes I was alarmed and disturbed.

    I realized at the time that the letter did not contain an actual threat, passionately hateful and vulgar is how I would classify it.

    I knew at best the crime would be a misdemeanor but the sheer number of them and the time it took to craft each letter added to the trepidation I felt.

    If children were not involved, remember, the letter writer went to great lengths to make sure the recipients knew they were supposedly generated from the school, then perhaps the police may have not reacted the way they did.

    With the countless school tragedies that have taken place in this country and others, it is hardly a stretch to think of the worst case scenario.

    Bravo to the JB PD for taking it seriously, and to anyone out there that wants to question that, ask yourself… “how would I react if my child could possibly be in danger?”

  11. The First Amendment guarantees free speech to the citizen of the United States of America.

    There are of course limitations on this free speech, which have arrived where they are today through the common law set by a series of landmark Supreme Court cases.

    In this case, the important distinction made by Keith Von Allmen , Johnsburg Police Chief is that the letters were “offensive” and not “threatening.”

    Threatening speech is very clearly not protected based on the precent set by Schenck v. United States (which is the source of the clear and present danger test referenced by CLM in comment 5). In the later case, Brandenberg v. Ohio it was established that, to quote Justice William Brennan:

    “…the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

    This case established the Brandenburg Test which redefined the clear and present danger test adding the criteria of intent, imminence, and likelihood.

    Without the text of the letters it is impossible to determine whether or not the content qualified as hate speech.

    However, the fact that bond was set as low as $120.00 and Von Allmen specifically stated, “I want to make it clear that it was not a threatening comment,” seems proof enough that the content was likely protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    Was the dissemination of these letters unprofessional and perhaps morally wrong?

    I’d say so.

    Was it illegal?

    Not according to the Constitution.

    If the Johnsburg Police wants to start enforcing a code other than that of the law, we have much bigger problems than an ex-principal’s “offensive” letters.

  12. It seems many of you are missing the point here.

    The police merely require “probable cause” to arrest.

    They are not the jury.

    They are not the prosecution.

    They are not the defense attorney.

    If they reasonably believe that a criminal ACT has been committed, they can arrest and cause the individual to be charged with a crime.

    The courts will then determine whether the individual is guilty of a criminal ACT.

    It is a defense to the charge that this is protected speech.

    Let the LAWyers figure out the specifics of a very complex area of law.

  13. I just want you all to know I have known this woman since I was at least 10 yrs old and actually I just heard about this and when I heard about it I was chuckling because to know her is to know she is not what many are stating.

    Chill out.

    She is a hoot, funny and family and if I had a teacher like her at the times of some of these problems in the school she would be one to take charge and shield over the children or cheer your child to a victory of a game or just one in your child’s corner.

    My heavens how things get distorted.

    Now that board might have aggravated her and if there are any members who act self righteous or phony she might put them in their place verbally .

    Do not bully her .

    She knows church politics and school as well.

    I agree with those stating preserve the freedom of speech .

    She was just letting the board know another perspective I am sure.

    I say we need more people like that in this world. I know we have to look around all the time but that board must not have done its job to know her, that is for sure.

    They got this one all wrong.

    Good Luck Pam.

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