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updated: 5/20/2013 5:11 PM

Ex-U-46 teacher accuses district of forcing resignation

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A former U-46 teacher has sued the district, arguing she was essentially fired and discriminated against after a hospitalization in fall 2010.

Schaumburg resident Jeanette Boland, a former tenured teacher at Larsen and Kenyon Woods middle schools in Elgin and South Elgin, respectively, argues Elgin Area School District U-46 violated the Illinois Human Rights Act by saying she had a psychological problems, thus discriminating against her and forcing her to resign.

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According to the suit, filed recently in Kane County, the dispute began on Sept. 29, 2010, when Boland had a "personal health issue" during the school day. Paramedics took her to the hospital and her father called Larsen Principal Randy Hodges to inform him of the situation.

Hodges wanted to talk directly to Boland, but her dad said she was in a "controlled environment," the suit said.

Hodges concluded Boland was hospitalized for "psychiatric or psychological reasons" and later sent out a staff memo on Oct. 4, 2010, saying "Jeanette was hospitalized again for emotional problems," according to the lawsuit.

"Hodges presumed some things, which I don't think he had a right to presume. He documented it (in the memo)," said Bolland's attorney Glenn Gaffney, who declined to say why she was hospitalized.

The suit also argues that on Oct. 4, 2010, Bolland was "unlawfully cross examined" by Hodges in front of another employee when he asked her at least six personal questions ranging from whether she had an emotional disorder to whom she lived with.

"It's just plain wrong for him to do that. That violates the law," Gaffney said, noting his client never had a negative review before her hospitalization. "After that she could do nothing right, in his opinion, of course."

Patrick Mogge, spokesman for U-46, said the district had not yet been served with the lawsuit and had no comment.

The suit argues that Hodges, who has since retired, and former Kenyon Woods Principal Susan Welu, who also retired, discriminated against Boland and that she was forced to resign in February 2012.

Gaffney said his client has not been able to find permanent employment as a teacher since then.

"It may not be the kiss of death as if the district terminated you, but it's not good," he said.

Boland seeks more than $50,000 and a jury trial. Both sides are due for an initial court appearance on Aug. 1.

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