Federal Judge Affirms Rights of School Leaders in CPAA Lawsuit
On Friday, CPAA received extraordinary news from a United States District Court (Northern Division of Illinois). The Board of Education's motion to dismiss our complaint in a lawsuit for one of our members was denied. Last summer, the Board of Education terminated and defamed an interim principal with false statements about her conduct and character. They did this without even so much as a hearing to allow her to dispute the charges and clear her name. When CPAA sued on behalf of that principal the Board claimed interim principals had no right to a hearing. In deciding in favor of the principal, a federal judge disagreed.
Why this is Important
First, in making a motion to dismiss, CPS asserted the law is not on the side of school leaders working without contracts--that even if her claims are true, the law allows the Board to do what they did to her. The judge’s decision says the law is on her side and she will win if she is able to successfully prove the facts alleged in her complaint.
Second, not only does this mean her lawsuit can move forward, but it is great news for principals and other administrators who serve without contracts. In stating that the law is on the side of this interim principal, the judge has--in effect--stated that the law is on the side of all interim principals and that CPS must give interim principals due process rights and the chance to clear their names if they are publicly accused of misconduct that threatens their prospects of future employment.
Third, school leaders who were terminated and defamed by CPS in the past without a name-clearing hearing may be able to sue individually or join together in a lawsuit. CPAA is currently gathering information on such cases and any CPS school leader who has been subject to CPS harassment or termination without due process should contact our office at (312) 263-7767 or complete our intake form.
CPAA has taken legal action against CPS to bring some measure of justice to school leaders who were wrongly terminated in the past and to create a deterrent to prevent CPS from unjustly targeting school leaders in the here and now. Friday’s decision is more than a victory for one principal. It sets a legal standard for all of us.
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