A teacher at a South Side Chicago high school claims she was fired after reporting a student's alleged sexual assault to authorities.
Rochelle Daniels filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Bronzeville's Hales Franciscan High School Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court. Daniels' lawsuit claims her November dismissal from the private school was a violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act, the Tribune reports.
Daniels said in late October a female student told her she was assaulted in a stairwell at school by two male Hales Franciscan students, prompting the English teacher to report the incident to the Department of Child and Family Services, according to the Sun-Times.
In an interview with WGN, Daniels said school administrators later told her they were handling the allegations internally and that she should have come to them first before calling DCFS.
Daniels' was fired two days after reporting the incident, with her lawsuit claiming the principal of the private Catholic school told Daniels she “had no right to either have any conversation with the student or to contact DCFS."
The school cited "gross" insubordination, non-compliance and other issues in Daniels' termination. Daniels' lawsuit, meanwhile, claims the school never called DCFS; Daniels' attorney, Joel Handler, said administrators knew about the alleged assault even before Daniels did.
In the days after she was fired, Daniels said the male students in the alleged attack sent her graphic and threatening text messages, NBC Chicago reports. The messages were so disturbing, Daniels said she took them to local police.
"The best teacher at Hales Franciscan High School is out of work, yet the perpetrators are still students at the school," Handler told NBC.
Formerly an all-boys school, Hales Franciscan went co-ed just this year.
The school has denied any wrongdoing in the matter. Daniels' lawsuit is seeking $100,000 in damages.