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O’Fallon, Illinois, School District 90 launches independent hiring investigation

District's 90's building is picture on a partially sunny, partially cloud day in O'Fallon, Illinois.
Will Bauer
St. Louis Public Radio
District 90 in O'Fallon, Illinois, which serves two junior high schools and five elementary schools, said in an email to parents that it's appointing an indepen­dent investigator to examine its hiring practices.

School District 90 in O’Fallon, Illinois, has opened an independent investigation into the hiring of an assistant superintendent’s son after it came to light he was charged with a felony in Oklahoma earlier this year.

Christian Wills, son of District 90 Assistant Superintendent Joi Wills, is charged with one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to court documents.

Police in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, arrested the then 23-year-old on Jan. 9, and his mother paid $5,000 in bond for his release the next day, according to records.

The next month, the district, which serves two junior high schools and five elementaries, hired Wills as a custodian. Parents raised concerns at a board meeting earlier this month about Wills' employment. The O’Fallon Weekly, which covered the meeting, reported he no longer works for the district.

In an email to parents this week, the district said, “In light of the recent controversy concerning the hiring of a custodian at Marie Schaefer, the District 90 Board of Education is appointing an independent investigator to examine policies and actions taken with respect to the hiring.”

Marie Schaefer Elementary School's sign in O'Fallon is picture on a sunny day.
Will Bauer
St. Louis Public Radio
Christian Wills worked as a custodian at Marie Schaefer Elementary in O'Fallon.

Previously an employee of the school district, Wills passed a background check when he was first hired.

Whether the district performed a background check in 2023 for his most recent hiring is unclear. District 90 officials declined to comment on the situation, citing the ongoing investigation.

Joi Wills and her son’s attorney also declined to comment.

Police gave the following account of what happened in Oklahoma: Wills approached the apartment of a man late on Jan. 8. The man did not recognize Wills, so he grabbed a firearm. When the door was opened, the man thought Wills pulled out a firearm of his own and shot Wills in the leg, who then returned fire before leaving the scene

Wills pleaded not guilty, according to a local newspaper report, and his next court appearance is scheduled for May 31.

Will Bauer is the Metro East reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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