Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
Rule 23 Order filed June 18, 2013.
Rule 23 Order withdrawn July 18, 2013.
A proper basis for plaintiff’s dismissal from her teaching position existed where her failure to properly supervise her students resulted in them engaging in sexual activity in their school, especially when that conduct was immoral, negligent and irremediable per se.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11-CH-1021; Review Hon. Peter Flynn, Judge, presiding.
Kurtis Hale, of Poltrock & Giampietro, of Chicago, for appellant..
James L. Bebley and Lee Ann Lowder, both of Law Department of Board of Education of the City of Chicago, of Chicago, for appellees.
Panel JUSTICE SIMON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Quinn and Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 This appeal is before this court following an administrative review proceeding concerning the December 15, 2010, decision of defendant Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Board) terminating plaintiff Vera Ball's employment with the Board as a tenured teacher assigned to Paul Revere Elementary School (Revere). Following an administrative hearing, the Board accepted in part and rejected in part the hearing officer's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation to reinstate Ball with a warning resolution. Ball sought administrative review in the circuit court of Cook County and on December 1, 2011, the trial court affirmed the Board's finding. This appeal followed.
¶ 2 Ball asserts on appeal that the Board erred in finding that she was negligent in breaching her duty to supervise her seventh- and eighth-grade students on May 26, 2009, when they engaged in sexual activity in the school. Ball also contends that the Board failed to prove that she caused any physical or psychological injury to the students. Finally, Ball asserts that the Board's decision to terminate her employment was arbitrary and capricious. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the Board.
¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND
¶ 4 On September 9, 2009, pursuant to section 34-85 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/34-85 (West 2010)), Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman approved charges against plaintiff alleging conduct unbecoming a CPS employee and requested she be suspended, without pay, pending a dismissal hearing. The charges levied against plaintiff all related to events that took place at Revere on May 26, 2009, and the subsequent investigation of those events. Plaintiff was alleged to have violated numerous provisions of CPS' employee discipline and due process policy for negligently and intentionally failing to supervise her students and making false statements to investigators. A hearing officer was selected and a dismissal hearing was held, with two days of testimony in January 2010.
¶ 5 Ball had been a special education instructor for CPS since 1997 working with students with behavioral problems and learning disabilities at Revere and had no significant prior disciplinary history. Revere is a prekindergarten through eighth-grade elementary school located in the Grand Crossing neighborhood at 1010 East 72nd Street, Chicago, Illinois. The neighborhood was described as a high ...