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updated: 12/29/2011 4:23 PM

Former Wauconda High band director sues over transfer

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Wauconda High School's former band director filed a federal lawsuit this week claiming he was unjustly transferred to another teaching assignment against his will and that his teachers union didn't help him get back his previous job.

Genaro Cantu III filed the complaint Tuesday in U.S. District Court against the Illinois Education Association union local that represents him and Wauconda Unit District 118. The suit seeks a return to his post as band director and unspecified economic damages from the school system and union.

The suit alleges Cantu received a written reprimand from District 118's administration while high school band director on April 20, 2011, then was involuntarily transferred to another job nine days later "for wholly arbitrary and capricious reasons." The suit does not detail the reason for the reprimand.

Although the Wauconda Education Association initially filed grievances against the district as requested by Cantu, the union later informed him it wouldn't pursue the case, according to court documents.

Neither Wauconda Education Association President Diane Kelly nor District 118 Superintendent Daniel Coles could be reached for comment Thursday.

Cantu, who joined the Wauconda school system as a teacher in 2001, accuses the teachers union of breaching a duty of fair representation. He also claims in the lawsuit that District 118 breached its employee agreement by transferring him, against his will, from band director to another job for no reason.

Now listed as a music instructor at District 118's Wauconda Middle School and Matthews Middle School in Island Lake, the suit contends Cantu is not receiving his required 30-minute daily lunch period because of the travel between assignments.

Cantu has suffered severe emotional distress and humiliation since he was shifted from band director in April 2011, according to the complaint.

"As a further result of the district's actions, (Cantu) has suffered irreparable harm to his reputation and has been forced to seek legal counsel and incur expenses for attorneys' fees and costs," the suit adds.

Messages left for Cantu and his lawyer were not returned.

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