Teacher sues Kaneland for discrimination

By on June 29, 2010

updated July 2, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.
by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—McDole Elementary School teacher Richard Scott and his wife, Debi Thomas, are suing the Kaneland School District and three of its administrators for discrimination.

In the complaint they filed in U.S. District Court on June 22, Scott and Thomas allege that the School District, former superintendent Charles McCormick, and former assistant superintendent Jeff Schuler (now superintendent), discriminated against Scott because of his gender and his disability.

Scott, a fifth-grade teacher at McDole in Montgomery, is the only male teacher at the school. He has been a teacher in the Kaneland School District for 14 years. His complaint states that he has been diagnosed with severe attention deficit disorder and major depression.

The complaint alleges that Scott consistently received excellent performance evaluations until three years ago, when Martne McCoy became assistant principal at McDole and began lowering his performance evaluations. According to the complaint, she continued to lower them and severely criticize his teaching after she became principal in 2008.

Scott’s complaint alleges that McCoy scrutinized his performance more rigorously than the performance of female teachers at McDole. The complaint also alleges that the School District did not provide reasonable accommodations for his disability, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Specifically, Scott alleges that the district denied his requests to transfer him from McDole to the junior high school as a way to accommodate his disability.

The district’s denial of his requests caused him to become so depressed that he required an in-patient hospitalization, continuing treatment and multiple leaves of absences from work, the complaint states.

The couple is seeking a judgment in excess of $75,000 plus court costs and attorney’s fees.

In the complaint, Scott’s wife alleges that the School District’s refusal to accommodate her husband’s requests caused his depression to become so severe that it impaired her marital relationship.

“The district is aware that the lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court,” Schuler said in a statement released Monday. “Because Mr. Scott has brought this into litigation, the district will not make specific comment on the issue, other than to say that the allegations are false. The district remains committed to the fair treatment of our employees and to providing a quality education for our students. This has been, and will continue to be, a core value supported by the work of our administrative team.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steven Glink, has yet to respond to messages from the Elburn Herald seeking comment.

About Martha Quetsch

3 Comments

  1. McDole Mom

    June 29, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    I have had experience with Mr. Scott. He is the by far the best teacher at McDole! I think Ms. McCoy is wrong for what she has done to a man that has been a terrific role model for the kids. When Mr. Scott was on medical leave, there were students crying because they wanted him to come back. I think that it speaks volumes to have students of all ages rallying in Mr. Scott’s favor. The other teachers are jealous of his success as a teacher with his students. If Mr. Scott does not continue to work in the district, Kaneland will suffer a tremendous loss and the students will ultimately be the ones to suffer. School should be about the best interests of the children, not whether or not you like a person. McCoy and the others that participated in the unfair treatment of Mr. Scott need to realize what an asset he really is to our community and to our children.

  2. concerned resident

    July 3, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    This lawsuit is very disconcerting. How has Mr. Scott overlooked the fact that there are other male teachers at McDole and how has he apparently gained access to other staff evaluations? I assumed that staff evaluations were confidental, but perhaps I’m mistaken. Filing a misguided lawsuit when the school has had to make severe cutbacks will only hurt the students.

    McDole Mom, while Mr. Scott may in fact be liked by his students, that is not a measure of his success as a teacher.

    As for Mr. Scott, I hope he regains his health and his conscience. I also hope he considers the possibility that his medical issues may have affected his performance.

  3. mcdole mom2

    July 9, 2010 at 6:29 AM

    Mr. Scott has taught two of my children and in my opinion he is a excellent teacher. What he was put through this year, was unexcuseable! His teaching abilities have helped my children become straight “A” students. I am very disappointed, he will not be teaching in our school district, and how he was treated during this whole process. Good luck Mr. Scott you deserve it, and get well; anyone that had to deal with what you went through this year would have been depressed. How is a person suppose to teach when the principal was in the class room evaluating your every move. Not only did it effect you as a teacher, but it effected the students. They were very distraut about what was going on. According to my childern they never had any idea of any health issues, but they did respect him as a teacher and he has had a possitive impact on my children and their learning experience. We enjoyed having you as a teacher and hope you get the chance to continue teach in the future.

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