District 304 teacher resigns after profane TikTok video goes viral
The Geneva High School French teacher at the center of a TikTok video controversy submitted her resignation to the district, according to a document for a board meeting.
Geneva District 304 school board members typically vote to accept the personnel report, which includes resignations. The personnel report for Monday's school board meeting lists the resignation of Antoinette Tortorello-Allaway.
Tortorello-Allaway posted a profanity-laced rant about someone who would not wear a mask at a choir concert at another school district.
The social media accounts for the teacher were closed, but not before the video was widely shared on other social media accounts and platforms. Her phone was disconnected and she did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
In the video, Tortorello-Allaway discussed attending her daughter's choir concert. While working at the ticket booth, she said, she saw an alum from a few years ago who came in with his grandparents and mother and described him as "being kind of a conservative (expletive) back then."
The grandparents were not wearing masks, she said, and she reminded them to wear masks indoors, per Gov. J.B. Pritzker's mandate.
"And I'm like, 'Am I going to have to (expletive) throw down with this (expletive)," according to the video. "Because I deal with this in school all day long. They (expletive) and moan about having to wear their masks and 'We're living in fear and all this crap.' Whatever. And I stare at her and I go, 'Are you kidding me right now? Like, we're at a high school choir concert. Is this really where you want to start (expletive) and be a (expletive) and be a (expletive expletive)?'"
After finishing selling tickets, Tortorello-Allaway said in the video, she took her seat -- right in front of the same family.
Tortorello-Allaway says the grandmother "is wearing the mask literally hanging off her ear." So she reported it to school personnel, who announced that everyone must wear a mask properly over their nose and mouth "if we want to continue having in-person music concerts," according to her video.
"So old biddy grandma huffs and puffs and she's all (expletive) off. Fine, whatever," Tortorello-Allaway states in the recording.
The issue of masking in schools has been a thorny one politically in Illinois and Geneva, especially since the governor reinstated a requirement for people to wear masks indoors at public places. Earlier this year, parents and others opposing the masking requirements packed school board meetings, and some groups held rallies against such COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Tortorello-Allaway's rant drew backlash online. It even prompted a reaction from Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Gary Rabine, who issued a news release calling for the teacher's firing.
In a statement posted on the District 304 website, officials said they were "actively looking into the matter."
"The district does not condone or support behavior or language that does not reflect the values we strive to instill in our students. Statements made by individual employees do not represent the views or values of the Geneva School District," according to the statement. "Because this is a personnel matter, all actions are confidential until public action is required by law. The district administration will work to handle this matter under its policies and procedures."
Patrick Hofstetter, a former Geneva resident who now lives in Elburn, started a petition on Change.org calling for Allaway to be disciplined.
"This is not acceptable behavior for our teachers," Hofstetter said. "It creates down the road more and more problems if it is not addressed. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions about everything, but when you take it public, you change the playing field completely."