Palatine High School teacher under investigation rescinds retirement request
A Palatine High School teacher whose controversial Facebook post about recent Black Lives Matter protests sparked a school district investigation rescinded her letter of resignation Thursday afternoon, hours before board of education members were expected to act on it.
During an hourlong public comment session during the Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board meeting via Zoom Thursday night, board President Robert LeFevre Jr. read many submitted emails related to the teacher and her controversial Facebook post.
Several called for her to be fired rather than allowed to quietly retire. Others, including some by family members and longtime acquaintances, defended the teacher's character and care for her students, though not specifically the words of her social media post.
Some specifically criticized the district for a lack of action on a matter of intolerance they argued even a student would have been disciplined for.
After the time for public comment had run out, no other specific mention was made of the teacher during the meeting, or the fact that she had rescinded the retirement letter submitted the week before.
The public comment hour also included numerous people weighing in on whether classes should be conducted in person or remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic when school resumes in August.
At the end of the meeting, board members approved a number of retirement requests, but the teacher under investigation was not among them.
A district official clarified to the Daily Herald after the meeting that the letter of retirement had been rescinded, leaving the board nothing to act on Thursday. The official declined to comment further, as it's a personnel matter. Earlier the official had indicated that the retirement would end the investigation.
District officials said the social media post, made after the end of the school year, came to their attention in early June and an investigation was begun.
At that time, the district said: "The posting has been removed. ... The statements in the post do not reflect the values or principles of District 211. We are truly sorry for any harm or disrespect that this may have caused."
Though the original post was deleted, screenshots purporting to be the teacher's remarks were being shared on social media by others during the past week.
The recent investigation was sparked by a social media post made after George Floyd's death in police custody and the nationwide protests that followed it. But the same teacher was disciplined for a different matter last year.
On March 14, 2019, the board of education voted unanimously to suspend the teacher for four days without pay and issue a "notice to remedy." The meeting minutes of the vote do not describe the reason for the disciplinary action.