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Former Substitute Teacher Mulls Legal Action Against D228

Anthony Fiorenzo, a former Bremen High School District 228 substitute teacher, says he was terminated from his position Jan. 9, over a discussion with Board of Education President Deb Stearns. Now, Fiorenzo is contemplating legal action.

A former Bremen High School District 228 substitute teacher is contemplating legal action against the district, following his termination Jan. 9. 

Anthony Fiorenzo, who worked as a sub in the district for three years, claims he was fired from his job following a dialogue with board president Deb Stearns, regarding a Facebook post that depicted the district's students in an unfavorable light.

The post depicted students from each of the four high schools in various scenarios, labeled with the schools' names.

“The Oak Forest children in the picture were all Caucasian students sitting for a class picture, the Hillcrest photo was a photo of the Hillcrest basketball team, the photo of the Bremen students depicted kids drinking and partying, including an African American girl drinking beer, and the Tinley Park photo showed the students smoking marijuana,” Fiorenzo said.

Fiorenzo told Stearns that the stereotypes were untrue, and that things had changed in recent years, with all district schools serving multicultural student bodies. He said Stearns agreed with him and the two then began a dialogue that moved to the topic of students from outside the district attending district schools.

During a board meeting Jan. 15, Fiorenzo brought his concerns before the board. When he arrived to substitute at Hillcrest High School Jan. 9, the secretary informed him she was told "not to use him" anymore, he claims. Fiorenzo checked with the State Board of Education to verify that his certifications were up to date, which they were, according to him.

Fiorenzo followed up with the personnel department Jan. 11. 

Assistant Superintendent Dan Goggins told Fiorenzo he had received a complaint about him.

“He informed me that a concerned citizen called and complained that I was making negative statements about the schools and that in his words, 'I was gone,'” he said.

Fiorenzo is unaware of any citizens with such concerns, and claims the district acted unfairly by terminating him without hearing his side of the story.

Board members declined to comment on a personnel situation during the meeting; however, in response to a previous article on Patch, Stearns stated that the board votes on all personnel matters, and that to her knowledge, no such action was taken against Fiorenzo.

“I do not recall having voted in regards to your employment during our last meeting in December,” she wrote. "I do not know the conditions of your employment, but I would prefer it if you didn't attribute any gain or loss of employment to me as that would be inaccurate."

Fiorenzo called the situation a 'sad state of affairs,' and informed the board that he would be seeking legal counsel in the matter.

District Superintendent Bill Kendall invited Fiorenzo to the district offices to discuss the matter.

Patch was unable to obtain a copy of the Facebook photo at the time of publication.

S January 29, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Why post anything showing facts when it's much more worthwhile just to make allegations. If he's suing them I doubt a lawyer would advise him to share it until a suit has been brought.
Lauren Traut January 29, 2013 at 09:00 PM
"Other publications," Mr. Fiorenzo? We would welcome the conversation at Patch, as we also felt it was important to tell your story. Lauren Traut Associate Regional Editor
S January 30, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Goodness, can we get over saying that I'm pretending to be Deb Stearns? I've made comments on many other posts besides this one that have no bearing on this topic, so I'm not quite sure why you keep saying that. There's no conspiracy theory here, I'm just stating my two cents like everyone else.
MR February 06, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Although it may seem unfair, I believe being a "sub" is a temporary position with no benefits as well as no promise of future employment. So whatever the reason, fair or unfair, legally, you do not have a leg to stand on.
Sue1 February 13, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Seems to me like he isn't saying because it didn't play out the way he is trying to say it did.

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