Rich Mitchell was fired from his job as superintendent of Bremen Community School District 228, outside Chicago, for being a big homo, or so (nearly) concludes the Cook County Human Rights Commission, which heard Mitchell’s complaint.
Relays Lambda Legal, which handled Mitchell’s case:
In 2004, Dr. Richard Mitchell interviewed for the position of superintendent of the Bremen Community High School District #228 with members of the School Board. As noted in the Commission report, during the interview process, School Board member Evelyn Gleason asked two other School Board members if they were aware that Dr. Mitchell was gay. The School Board members inferred that Ms. Gleason was opposed to hiring Dr. Mitchell because of his sexual orientation. The Board chose to hire Mitchell through the end of the 2007 school year. In his complaint, Dr. Mitchell alleges that, soon after he was hired, Gleason and another board member sought to invalidate Mitchell’s contract without informing the rest of the Board, but their attempts were rejected by the Illinois State Board of Education.
In early 2005, the School Board extended Dr. Mitchell’s contract through June 2009. Shortly thereafter, Gleason became president of the Board and replaced the School District’s legal counsel with the law firm where her son works. The new lawyer promptly circulated a memo to the Board asserting that Mitchell’s extended contract was invalid. When confronted by a parent wishing to understand why Mitchell’s contract was being contested, Gleason responded by saying, “Did you know that he’s gay?”
The case is actually an old one: Under review since 2006, the Commission only now found “substantial evidence” to indicate sexual orientation discrimination. It didn’t help that Mitchell himself was accused of editing videotapes of teacher interviews to make it look like the new hires were admitting to drug use and murder