Substitute teacher sues District 65 for racial, sex discrimination

Paige Leskin, City Editor

A substitute teacher is suing Evanston/Skokie School District 65, claiming he was not given a permanent teaching position because he is a white male.

In a complaint filed in a Circuit Court of Cook County on Nov. 13, Elliott Cady alleged both race and sex discrimination against the district, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged a black woman, who was less qualified and experienced than Cady, was given the job in January 2013 as a second grade teacher at Oakton Elementary School.

“The administration revealed to him that race was definitely a consideration in who they wanted to replace him,” Cady’s attorney Mason Cole told The Daily on Wednesday. “Basically he was told that by various administrators and various other teachers.”

While Cady was a substitute teacher for District 65 in late 2012, he applied to a teacher position at the elementary school at 436 Ridge Ave., for which he expressed his interest and received a personal recommendation from a district administrator for the job, according to the lawsuit.

Oakton’s principal, Churchill Daniels, never interviewed him and instead hired the black woman, according to the lawsuit.  While the woman had never before held a permanent teaching position, Cady has bachelors and masters degrees from Northwestern, the lawsuit says.

Although it is unusual for someone not to be hired because they are Caucasian, any matter of race cannot be an influence in whether a person is hired or fired in employment discrimination cases, Cole said.

“They can say, ‘I don’t like the color of your shoes,’ but what they can’t say is, ‘I don’t like the color of your skin,’” he said.

The lawsuit claims that the district’s decision is in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act. Cady also alleges that in retaliation to filing a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights for racial and sex discrimination, District 65 staff no longer expressed an interest in employing him full-time.

The district has a month to file a response to Cady’s lawsuit and must submit an answer by Dec. 13. If the case were to go to trial, Cole estimated that it would not reach court until summer 2015.

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