Parent jailed after altercation with South Elgin football coach
By Dave Gathman firstname.lastname@example.org September 10, 2012 6:34PM
Updated: October 12, 2012 6:13AM
SOUTH ELGIN — A South Elgin High School parent upset with his son’s football coach ended up facing a felony charge after being accused of shoving the coach during a confrontation before a game Saturday, police said.
James Slobodnik, 52, of the 1200 block of Churchill Road in Bartlett, was charged with aggravated battery (a Class 3 felony) and misdemeanor battery following the fracas with Storm varsity football coach Dale Schabert.
Police Sgt. Mike Doty said the incident occurred about 4 p.m., just before the Storm’s game against Neuqua Valley High School. According to police reports, the coach was warming up the players on South Elgin’s practice field when Slobodnik approached him and began an argument that allegedly ended up with Slobodnik shoving Schabert.
School District U46 Safety Officer John Heiderscheidt said the father first had angrily approached the assistant football coach before turning on Schabert.
“He continued yelling obscenities, vulgarities, got very, very close to the face of the head football coach, where the spit from his yelling was hitting the face of the football coach, and the football coach was trying to de-escalate the situation and not engage in yelling,” Heiderscheidt said. “The man continued, pushed the football coach. The football coach stepped back and tried to move around the man, and that’s when he was hit in the chest.”
Doty said the battery can be considered “aggravated” because the victim was a school employee on duty. Class 3 felonies are punishable by two to five years in prison, up to $25,000 fine, and/or probation.
Doty said Slobodnik’s son normally plays for the team but Slobodnik was upset because of some “disciplinary issue” involving the son and Coach Schabert.
According to highschoolcube.com, a Jason Slobodnik plays defensive-line positions for the South Elgin team.
According to unconfirmed reports, Schabert had suspended the young Slobodnik for two games as punishment for some infraction, and that had made the elder Slobodnik angry. The school district declined to comment on what had occurred prior to the assault.
Doty said fans already were gathering for the game at the nearby SEHS stadium, but they did not witness the alleged assault because the practice field is out of their line of vision.
Schabert led his team into the stadium as police escorted the father off the property, according to Heiderscheidt. Police then began their investigation after the game, “when the coach was finished taking care of the students,” the safety officer said.
“This sort of conduct is really never OK at any event. The protections we’ve put in place for our staff and our players are there for a reason,” Heiderscheidt said.
“If a parent disagrees with what a coach does, there are remedies and ways those disagreements and ways those questions can be made at the appropriate time, at the appropriate venue. It’s certainly never appropriate to do it in front of students and certainly never appropriate to this magnitude.”
Slobodnik was held overnight in the Kane County jail until weekend bond court convened Sunday morning. A judge then set his bail at $10,000, and he was released pending a Sept. 28 hearing.
Staff writer Emily
McFarlan Miller contributed to this report.