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Feds sue after eight pregnant Chicago teachers discriminated against

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* From a press release…

The Justice Department today announced the filing of a lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that the board discriminated against pregnant teachers at Scammon Elementary School by subjecting them to adverse personnel actions, including termination in some instances, after they announced their pregnancies. According to the complaint, these adverse personnel actions were in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is a federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion. The statute explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating against female employees due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges that, starting in 2009, the principal at Scammon subjected female teachers to lower performance evaluations, discipline, threatened termination and/or termination because of their pregnancies. The complaint further alleges that the board approved the firing of six recently pregnant teachers employed at Scammon and forced two other recently pregnant teachers to leave Scammon. The department’s complaint seeks a court order that would require the board to develop and implement policies that would prevent its employees from being subjected to discrimination due to their pregnancies. The relief sought also includes monetary damages as compensation for those teachers who were harmed by the alleged discrimination.

Two teachers who had been pregnant while working at Scammon filed charges of sex discrimination with the Chicago District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigated the charges and determined that there was reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred against the two charging parties as well as against other pregnant teachers. The EEOC was unsuccessful in its attempts to conciliate the matter before referring it to the Department of Justice.

According to the suit (click here), the principal in question targeted eight pregnant teachers, effectively forcing all of them out.

How the heck does this happen? Some of the teachers were tenured, for crying out loud. And why wouldn’t the Board work out a deal with the feds?


* Meanwhile

A mayoral contender and the Chicago Teachers Union called Monday for the resignation of Chicago Board of Education member Deborah Quazzo.

They cited a Chicago Sun-Times analysis that showed companies Quazzo has an interest in have seen their business from Chicago Public Schools triple since the venture capitalist was appointed to the board last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

On Monday, the teachers union also renewed its call for an elected school board, but the mayor’s office would not say what Emanuel knew of Quazzo’s business interests before choosing her in June 2013.

“If she has any integrity, she has to resign,” said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), a longtime mayoral critic who’s challenging Emanuel in February’s election.

The original story is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Knome Sane - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    I don’t know what surprises me more: 1) that the story dropped on the Eve of Christmas Eve or 2) that the Justice Dept. handed this down in the middle of a Mayoral campaign.

  2. - OneMan - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    Hey CPS thinks about the kids, not the people having kids…

    That being said, kids, this is bad….

  3. - Mason born - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Amazing that the board didn’t catch on to this. Read the complaint it seems like a petty dictator of a principle with Zero oversight from higher.

    I couldn’t imagine this happening (for that long affecting that many) in a private sector company let alone a school.

  4. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Certainly unsurprising in both cases. The level of prejudice I saw in the system and the “cash in” politics I saw at Clark after Vallas left and the “bad old days” of Pershing road was brought back by Daley created this kind of culture.

    What I’d really like to see is some of the truly exceptional young white teachers who were canned because of the color of their skin file suit.

    It was practically impossible for some of the white teachers to have a chance in Hispanic and AA administered schools,despite some truly impressive objective performances.

    Don’t be surprised by strange things you see from Principals in CPS. Few I’d met could write a coherent expository letter, and most were political hires. One got into a fist fight with an LSC member, and kept his job. One wasn’t satisfied with the response time of CPD when she called them, so she lied about a student having a gun. The CPS SWAT team came, endangering all the kids and staff. When she admitted she did it to get them there more quickly, they cuffed her and made her do a perp walk. She was back on the job the next week.

    What happened in these cases certainly is part of the culture there.

    And people wonder why CPS provides deficient quality education at “Naperville” prices….

  5. - Gooner - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Bob, do you have any evidence to support the allegations? If so, please post them. Otherwise, people will conclude that you’ve decided to the Klan’s voice on this forum.

    Regarding pregnancy — the important part of the story is the lack of central control over the school. It definitely is not a system-wide problem, as I know first hand. One of my children’s teachers is pregnant, and by all accounts, she’s been treated very well by all involved.

    CPS spends a lot of money on administration, but unfortunately, they do not seem to spend the money well.

    They really need to do a better job of hiring administrators and of implementing policy. As it stands now, the teachers and students are really at the whim of the administration. If they are lucky enough to be in a well run school that’s great, but I don’t see the top down control to raise standards in all the schools.

  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    Remember that the principals are hired by the local school councils, consisting of local parents, local community members and local teachers. Of course there is ethnic/racial hiring going on. (And the community/media go crazy whenever central administration tries to oust a principal.)

  7. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    When someone says school districts need more power to fire teachers, I ask, how well is the district using its power to fire administrators?

    All the checks built into the system: the LSC, the Superintendent, the BOE & CTU… and yet, Principal Mary Weaver was able to force teachers out.

  8. - Dave O'Neal Fan Club - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    Bob’s own testimony and observations are in and of themselves evidence, weigh it as the trier of fact. Bringing up the Klan lessens credibility. Why do so?

  9. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    So the Board has chosen to spend a lot more money to fight the indefensible rather than deal with the problem. Great job guys.

  10. - How Ironic - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:49 pm:


    Because per “Az Bob” only qualified teachers of white skin color are fired, and no less at the hands of inept administrators (of color).

    And just when I didn’t think I could discount his posts more, he pens that nonsense.

    But I’m sure he has a few black friends, so it’s all cool.

  11. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    If you ask a racist White guy to evaluate the performance of White teachers in a Black or Latino school, he will probably come to different conclusions than Black & Latino department heads.

    Bob’s story hinges on his ability to evaluate performance of White teachers.

    Does Bob think the cops in Ferguson behaved professionally?

    So, Bob’s idea of great teaching at Black and Latino schools might involve corporal punishment, humiliation, being disrespectful to parents, etc.

  12. - OneMan - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    I guess one question that comes to mind is…

    Where was the CTU during this? One would think the union would have made a public stink about this earlier. It would seem to play into at least some of their complaints about the current leadership at CPS…

  13. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    @Carl Nyberg

    =So, Bob’s idea of great teaching at Black and Latino schools might involve corporal punishment, humiliation, being disrespectful to parents, etc=

    ummm seems like you’ve been taking advantage of the new cannabis act in Illinois, Carl. How the heck do you hallucinate all this stuff? Flashback from the 60’s?

  14. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    BTW, I won’t name names, but the school that had the Principal fist fight was Orr HS and the perp walk principal was at Dyett. Google it. It should still be out there.

  15. - Gooner - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    Bob, if you are aware of it, why not name names?

    If you can do so, back it.

    You made some serious allegations. If you have facts, back them.

  16. - Left Leaner - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:44 pm:


    Emanuel should go simply for how badly he’s handled the ‘CPS situation’. He had a chance to fix things and has only made it worse.

  17. - OneMan - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    The Dyett thing is here, not quite what AZ Bob described, but most of his basic facts seem to be right…

  18. - MrJM - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    “What I’d really like to see is some of the truly exceptional young white teachers who were canned because of the color of their skin file suit.”

    Occam’s Razor tells us your premise is false.

    – MrJM

  19. - From the 'Dale to HP - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    The Quazzo situation looks really bad for Rahm, and now his admin, at worst, was sitting on the EEOC complaint for years, at best, sitting on this for a few months and did nothing? HUH?

    Then again, should we be surprised? Governing and management is not want Rahm does well or at all.

  20. - Teacher Reader - Monday, Jan 5, 15 @ 8:32 am:

    LSCs can hire principals, but from a very small list and the LSCs can be manipulated by CPS and especially by the network.

    There was an issue at one time with racial quotas. I know of white teachers 15 years ago who were told by a principal, “I’d love to hire you, but you’re the wrong color.” Those restrictions have been lifted for years now.

    Unfortunately, teacher populations get segregated just like our student populations and like the population of Chicago in general. With more African-American teachers teaching on the West Side, they have been most impacted by the practice of closing down and turning around schools. As a result, the percentage of African-American teachers in CPS is dropping like a rock. This can be a real problem and will be in years to come.

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