The Cook County Human Rights Commission has found “substantial evidence” of sexual-orientation discrimination in its investigation of the Bremen Community High School District No. 228.
The case began after the district fired Superintendent Richard Mitchell following a series of clashes with the board. According to the complaint, district board member Evelyn Gleason repeatedly raised the issue of Mitchell’s sexual orientation when he was being hired in 2004.
Upon starting his job, Mitchell says, Gleason almost immediately began a campaign to oust him. Gleason and another board member attempted to have his contract invalidated only to be rebuffed by the Illinois Board of Education. The district board agreed to extend Mitchell’s contract.
But shortly afterward, Gleason assumed the board’s presidency. She set about attempting to invalidate Mitchell’s contract extension.
Mitchell claims the board then opposed all initiatives he proposed and implemented a “remediation plan,” giving Mitchell just 60 days to implement it. When Mitchell attempted to do so, the board continued to block all of his proposals.
When Mitchell claimed the remediation plan was a pretext for anti-gay discrimination, the board fired him.
The case will now go to a full hearing to determine whether the district violated Cook County’s Human Rights Ordinance.