United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CAROLYN MASCOW, and LOCAL 571 OF ILLINOIS FEDERATION OF TEACHERS Plaintiffs,
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF FRANKLIN PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 84, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mascow and Local 571 of the Illinois Federation of Teachers
(“Plaintiffs”) bring this claim against the Board
of Education of Franklin Park District, No. 84 (or “the
District”), David Katzin, and Heidy LaFleur
(“Defendants”) alleging First Amendment
retaliation and a Due Process violation. Currently before the
Court is the defendants' motion for summary judgment
pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
For the reasons explained below, defendants' motion is
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. Mascow
worked as a Special Education teacher for over 20 years.
Local 571 is a teacher's union that represents teachers
and school employees across the western suburbs of Chicago.
David Katzin is the District's Superintendent. Heidy
LaFleur was employed as the Principal of North Elementary
School, where Mascow worked.
District participates in the Leyden Area Special Education
Cooperative (“LASEC”) with other school districts
within Leyden Township. Certain students with behavioral and
emotional difficulties in the District were assigned to a
special education classroom under LASEC's Behavioral
Intervention Program (“BIP”).
taught a “self-contained” BIP class from the
start of her employment with the District. In 2001, Mascow
began teaching the BIP class at North Elementary School.
Beginning in 2010, Mascow served as Co-President of Local
571. During her time in leadership, Mascow was involved in
two union contact negotiations.
Between District and Union
2014, Principal LaFleur presented the idea of offering a
Curriculum Night that would require teachers to stay 30
minutes past their usual schedule. Mascow told LaFleur that
she believed the Curriculum Night would violate the
union's contract and proposed that the curriculum
presentation coincide with an already-scheduled open house.
Although she expressed disappointment on Mascow's
position, LaFleur accepted the suggestion and held the
Curriculum Night during a scheduled open house.
the summer of 2015, Mascow learned of a staff assembly
scheduled to be conducted by motivational speaker Jim
“Basketball” Jones. In addition to the assemblies
organized for parents and students, Jones was scheduled to
conduct a presentation for teachers that would exceed the
time of a normal staff meeting. On September 2, 2015,
Superintendent Katzin met with Mascow and union Co-President
Kara Yaussy. Mascow and Yaussy informed Katzin that the union
objected to the staff presentation because it would run past
their usual time and proposed to either move the presentation
date, or pay the teachers for the additional time. Katzin
decided to cancel the staff meeting and alerted teachers and
staff via e-mail on September 9, 2015.
after the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, Mascow was
assigned to a “resource” position in lieu of her
normal BIP classroom. In this position, Mascow worked with
students in general education classrooms as well as students
with individual early intervention plans
the 2015 evaluation meeting with Mascow, LaFleur rated Mascow
in four categories: planning and preparation, classroom
environment, instruction, and professional responsibility.
Mascow was rated “excellent” in planning and
preparation and classroom environment, and
“proficient” in instruction and professional
responsibility, finishing with a general rating of
“proficient.” LaFleur told Mascow that the time
Mascow spent on union activities may have been preventing her
from having time to participate in professional development
activities such as presentations and attending conferences
that would warrant an “excellent” rating in the
“professional responsibilities” domain. However,
LaFleur included Mascow's leadership within the union as
a positive aspect in her performance in a separate component
of the evaluation. LaFleur allowed Mascow to submit
additional information in support of Mascow's request to
increase her rating. After considering the evidence provided
by Mascow, LaFleur increased Mascow's rating in one of