Teacher Sues Chicago Schools, Saying He Was Fired Over His Memoir

Luis Aguilera sues fired memoirLuis Aguilera probably thought he'd left his childhood affair with a teacher behind. After all, it happened when he was 13, and his memoir, in which he recounts details of the relationship, was published over a decade ago. But Aguilera believes that he was fired from his own teaching post in 2009 because a parent had concerns about the book. Now he's suing the Chicago public school district for more than $300,000.

Aguilera's memoir, "Gabriel's Fire," is based on his childhood journal entries, according to the Amazon book description. It deals with coming-of-age on Chicago's South Side as a Mexican immigrant, and includes anecdotes about facing the threats of gangs and drugs, his experience as a minority in a Polish neighborhood, and his affair with an elementary school teacher. The librarian at Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, where Aguilera was a Spanish teacher, obtained a copy of the book at some unknown point, according to the lawsuit.

In January 2009, a parent expressed concerns about her daughter's relationship with Aguilera because of his book, according to the lawsuit. The school's principal allegedly convened a conference with the parent and other administrators. That same day, the librarian allegedly told Aguilera that the principal had banned students from accessing the book in the library.

A few days later, Aguilera was pulled out of the classroom and transferred to an administrative position in what he calls the "Rubber Room," according to his attorney Deidre Baumann, whose practice focuses on civil rights, employment discrimination and constitutional law. "It was a place where he wasn't permitted to do what he loves to do."

In December of that year, Aguilera was terminated for unspecified misconduct/unsatisfactory performance. Aguilera then filed charges with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, which has to investigate any claims of discrimination before anyone can file them in a federal court.

The department hasn't finished investigating Aguilera's claims, but because of the two-year statute of limitations, Aguilera has gone ahead and filed his lawsuit, which accuses the Chicago public schools of firing him as illegal retaliation against his constitutionally protected free speech.

Aguilera is seeking compensation in excess of $300,000, punitive damages, back pay and benefits, attorney's fees, and the reinstatement of his job. "The Chicago Board of Education has historically been unwilling to address the concerns of their teachers, once they decide that they want to get rid of someone for proper or improper reasons," says Baumann. That is, she adds, until they get handed a lawsuit.



Next: Woman Sues Cop For Issuing Speeding Ticket, Then Asking Her Out



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rltballer

I hope he wins. Lets see how the already faltering Chicago budget likes getting hit with a 300k penalty. He did nothing wrong. He wa sexually abused, raped, as a child. A 13 yo cannot concent to sex with an adult so it is statutory rape. he only discussed in a book. I would have went for a lot more money than that.

January 05 2012 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
valgaavmiko

I hope be wins. The teacher-student relationship he had was abuse. Period. Firing someone because of that is reprehensible.

January 05 2012 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
adam646l

Puritanical morons

January 05 2012 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gidupgo

Go for it, Luis!! The way you have been treated is absolutely shameful and they should pay, all of the them from the teacher to the principal and the school board. Hope you win.

January 05 2012 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lamont

why wouldnt the mom talk to her daughter the parent, after all, is a childs first teacher. there is the one person to screw the pooch for everyone else. now how many students are deprived of this teacher's wisdom and knowledge.

January 05 2012 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Baby

Schools taught me that,how odd!!

January 05 2012 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Baby

Freedom of SPEECH! Free COUNTRY!!! GEESHHHHHHH

January 05 2012 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kindamara

Since this happened in Chicago, why isn't the Chicago Teachers Union all over this? Why is this self righteous parent so upset about a book that was written 10 years ago? Sounds she is more afraid that her daughter may learn something about life. I'll bet her daughter has read far worse than she may not even be aware of. Give the teacher his job back.

January 05 2012 at 12:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mgoforat

Give him his job back. My goodness.

January 05 2012 at 12:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
latursin

Sometimes whatever happened in the pass just needs to stay there.

January 05 2012 at 12:19 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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