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Teacher fired for reporting child abuse, sues school

A former assistant principal at Goodlow School says he was fired for reporting suspected child abuse.

Kenneth Taylor says that while he was assistant principal of the school, a coordinator/teacher in the Reading First program told him that she observed a special education teacher "kick the legs out from under a second grade student who had been identified as requiring special education-related services."

The Reading First teacher told Taylor that she called out the Special Education teacher to stop her actions and the Special Education teacher denied kicking him and stated that he fell on his own, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the following then occurred:

- Taylor explained to the Reading First teacher that she was a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse and required to report it to DCFS, but she refused.

- Taylor spoke to the child in the presence of another staff member.

- Taylor reported the suspected abuse to DCFS.

- After informing the principal, defendant Patricia Lewis, Lewis screamed at Taylor and told him that the Special Education Teacher's actions were "part of therapeutic services being provided to the child."

- Prior to that, Taylor and Lewis had a friendly professional relationship but after that Lewis was hostile and uncommunicative toward Lewis.

- Lewis lowered Taylor's performance rating and cited the reporting of abuse as a reason.

- Taylor complained of retaliation to the CPS.

- While Taylor was on an approved leave of absence, he was mistakenly accused of being AWOL and the retaliation investigation was concluded without interviewing him.

- Another investigation was conducted accusing Taylor of making false allegations of child abuse.

- While Taylor's mother was dying, a predisciplinary hearing was conducted. Lewis also sought to discipline him for excessive absences.

- Taylor later broke up a fight in a classroom and injured his back. He was taken away in an ambulance. CPS sought disciplinary action for negligently failing to supervise students.

- Taylor took a leave of absence for his back injury and when he returned Lewis assigned him "menial" work.

- When Taylor injured his back again breaking up a fight in the playground, he was again falsely accused of being AWOL.

Taylor is seeking, among other things, reinstatement and back pay.

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Posted in: News on January 16, 2010 @ 6:37 PM

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