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CTU files federal lawsuit against Board of Ed in defense of special ed whistleblower

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today will hold a press conference to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked Chicago Board of Education for retaliation against Saucedo Elementary School teacher Sarah Chambers for her First Amendment-protected criticisms of its deficient services to special education students. The Board also broke the Illinois Whistleblower Act when it fired Chambers for blowing the whistle on its violations of laws protecting special education students.

Finally, the suit contends that the Board’s actions are unlawful as a wrongful discharge because all employees in Illinois are protected from retaliations when they point out violations of the law. 

“The Board's reasons for firing Ms. Chambers are pretexts to hide its true, retaliatory motive,” said attorney Josiah Groff. “We look forward to proving this in court.”



CTU President Karen Lewis, Saucedo Elementary School teacher Sarah Chambers, attorney Josiah Groff, special education advocate and Access Living Education Policy Analyst Rod Estvan, former Saucedo Elementary School parent Angie Chavero.



Press conference to announce filing of federal lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education



Friday, July 7, 2017, at 11:00 a.m.



Chicago Teachers Union Center
1901 W. Carroll Ave.



The CTU is filing this suit to stop attacks on member leaders who are paying the ultimate price for standing up for Chicago’s most vulnerable students. For years now, key activists have been targeted by the Board for speaking out, standing up and demanding justice for special education students, English Language Learners, and students who need and deserve trauma support and services that only school nurses, librarians, counselors, social workers and psychologists can provide. In this case, longtime activist Sarah Chambers was targeted by administration for being a strong student advocate. This is a case to defend the integrity of the school district and ensure that the blatant retaliation experienced by one member cannot be used against all.

Sarah Chambers vs. Board of Education of the City of Chicago (PDF)

Exhibit A (PDF)

Chicago Teachers Union