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updated: 8/29/2013 11:18 PM

District 207 upholds teacher's firing

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The Maine Township High School District 207 school board this month upheld the firing of a former physical education teacher and health instructor at Maine West and Maine South high schools who is suing the district for discrimination.

Jannon Kirley, 55, began working at District 207 in 2000 as a physical education and health teacher at Maine South and was employed with the district until Oct. 3, 2011, when she was suspended without pay pending the conclusion of a dismissal hearing.

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Officials said Kirley was dismissed due to insubordination and unprofessional conduct toward staff members and students. District 207 spokesman David Beery said Thursday an Illinois State Board of Education hearing officer recommended that the school board uphold its initial decision to dismiss, which was reaffirmed at this month's school board meeting.

Kirley's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Kirley sued District 207 and the school board in federal court March 5 alleging employment discrimination, age discrimination, retaliation for exercising her First Amendment right to free speech, and for retaliatory discharge under the Illinois Whistleblower's Act.

A tenured teacher since 2004, Kirley also coached swimming and water polo at Maine South before being involuntarily transferred to Maine West on May 10, 2011, according to the lawsuit.

District 207 has filed a motion to dismiss Kirley's lawsuit. A decision is pending.

Kirley also has filed complaints against District 207 claiming discrimination and retaliation with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Oct. 3, 2011, and March 16, 2012.

Those charges also were filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The status of those complaints was not available.

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