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Gilliland v. Board of Education

OPINION FILED APRIL 5, 1977.

KAREN GILLILAND, APPELLEE,

v.

BOARD OF EDUCATION OF PLEASANT VIEW CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 622 OF TAZEWELL COUNTY, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Third District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Tazewell County, the Hon. James D. Heiple, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE UNDERWOOD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff, Karen Gilliland, a tenured elementary teacher in Pleasant View Consolidated School District No. 622, Tazewell County, was dismissed from her position by the board of education following a public hearing. The Tazewell County circuit court, acting pursuant to the teacher's complaint for administrative review (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.), affirmed the decision of the board. On appeal the Appellate Court for the Third District reversed (35 Ill. App.3d 861), and we allowed the board's petition for leave to appeal.

Since the major question is whether the findings of the board are contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence, a detailed statement of facts is necessary. Pleasant View Consolidated School District No. 622 embraces a rural area which, during the 1972-73 school year, contained 57 families and from which 111 children attended the school. Plaintiff's employment at Pleasant View School had commenced with the 1969-70 school year and continued through the 1972-73 school year. During the first three years, she taught combined classes of second and third grades with 20 to 23 students. In 1972-73, she taught only a second grade class with 13 students. Plaintiff was married in September 1969 and divorced in May 1971.

In mid-March 1973, the board requested plaintiff to resign, but she refused. On March 30, 1973, the board gave her written notice that she was being dismissed for the following causes:

"1. Incompetency

(a) ruining pupil's attitude toward school.

(b) lack of teacher-pupil rapport. Pupils need clearer instructions on work.

(c) irregular work assignments.

(d) display of affection to compensate for previous harsh discipline.

(e) general teaching incompetency.

2. Cruelty

(a) grabbing pupils by arm, hair or shoulder.

(b) having child sit on floor because she did not have her spectacles. The child's mother had sent a note informing you that ...


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