A former tenured teacher who became the human resources director forwest suburban Bellwood School District 88 is claiming she was fired after asking officials to dismiss an employee who tested positive for illegal drugs.
Gwen Frasier, who began working for the district in 1977, claims she had been demoted without reason twice, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court. The school district and Supt. Rosemary Hendricks are named as the defendants.
In 1992, Frasier became principal at Wilson Elementary School, where she started her career as a teacher, the suit claims. But she was demoted to teaching at McKinley Elementary School in 2002, and her salary was reduced by $16,000, the suit claims. Frasier was not given a reason for being demoted.
In July 2007, she was hired as the director of human resources for the district, the same year Hendricks was first hired to her position as superintendent.
In 2008, Frasier objected when Hendricks hired a school board member’s son who was not old enough to work, but she was told by Hendricks to “do as you are directed,” the suit said.
Three years later, in January 2011, the board and Hendricks tried to force Frasier into retirement by accusing her of having an invalid certification, the suit said.
She did not retire but was demoted “without being told why,” the suit claims. No charges of invalid certification were ever filed against Frasier, who the suit claims had “excellent” evaluations.
Frasier was reappointed as human resources director in July 2012, a couple of months after Hendricks was dismissed as superintendent that spring, the suit said.
In July 2014, Frasier found that the director-manager of transportation at the time had tested positive for illegal drugs. She brought that complaint to Hendricks in October 2014, after she was rehired as superintendent.
But the suit claims Hendricks ignored Frasier’s initial request, then later told Frasier to “do as [she] was directed,” the suit said. Frasier was put on administrative leave that month, then dismissed in December 2014, the suit said.
Frasier requested a hearing for the termination but was ignored, the suit said.
Neither the school district nor Hendricks could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
The two-count suit claims Frasier’s right to due process was violated, and that she was illegally fired after reporting about the transportation employee’s drug test.
Frasier is asking for at least $50,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages. She is also requesting she be reinstated as humanresources director and be paid back wages.