Male School Board Member Threatens Female Superintendent With An ‘A**-Kicking’

A Chicago area school superintendent has filed a lawsuit claiming she has been the subject of harassment from the school board and local officials. Dr. Denean Adams, superintendent of Harvey School District 152, which serves an area of the south Chicago suburbs, says that board member Tyrone Rogers threatened her with physical harm after she called for an independent audit of school district expenditures.

Adams says that the threat occurred after she uncovered a number of questionable expenditures, including $500,000 in payments to a contractor for services that were not specified. She asked the board to approve an outside forensic audit of district finances. This, according to the lawsuit, “enraged” Rogers, who several weeks later made what Adams termed a “threatening” phone call to her. It was during that phone call that Rogers said that Adams was “itching for an ass-kicking.”

Adams reportedly told school board president Gloria Johnson about the threat, and Johnson promised to look into it with the full board. When nothing was done, Adams went to the police. The detective she met with refused to allow her to file a complaint, and Adams was advised instead to “work it out with the school board.” A few weeks later, the board rescinded a one-year contract extension it had previously granted to Adams, on the basis that she had not met her performance expectations.

In February 2015, Adams’ performance was considered acceptable, and she agreed to a one-year extension as specified in her original contract, should she meet performance goals. In May, when she requested that an outside auditor be hired to look into district expenditures, the school board told her to draft a proposal. There were still no issues with her performance when the board held a retreat in June. But in July, when she presented her proposal for an auditor to the board, that is when the trouble began.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the school district has a history of cronyism that forms the basis for the lawsuit. Adams’ suit says that former superintendent Eric Kellogg, who is also Harvey’s mayor, has friends and relatives on the board. Those friends and relatives, including Tyrone Rogers, voted for Kellogg for superintendent, a position he held while simultaneously serving as mayor. The suit says that Kellogg was rewarded with a pay and benefit package worth over $300,000 despite declining academic performance by district students.

The suit claims:

“The Board’s conduct is part of a custom of cronyism and public corruption that exists in District 152 where the Board protects its own and punishes anyone who dares speak against them.”

Adams’ lawsuit says that the district and Harvey officials violated her 1st and 14th amendment rights, because she was never informed of the charges that she failed to meet her performance goals before the board voted. She is seeking punitive damages from all the school board members, as well as $165,000 in financial damages, and additional damages from Harvey’s police chief and the detective who would not let her file a complaint against Rogers for his threat.

The suit says that Adams suffered emotional distress, weight loss, and panic attacks after Rogers threatened her. No one involved would offer any comment to the media, save for Harvey city spokesman Sean Howard, who said,

“Any and all matters related to harassment is taken seriously by our department. Our Investigators approach this matter as if it would any other claim of harassment. However what our department won’t engage in is petty political fighting amongst administrators and elected officials. The contents within this lawsuit as relates to our department is baseless and without merit.”

Harvey schools serve a community where most students are disadvantaged. Over 95 percent of district students come from households that fall below the state’s poverty level. It would seem that the school board would be very interested in where the district’s money is being spent, but Adams’ lawsuit raises serious questions about what is going on in Harvey, Illinois.

Featured image via Harvey District 152 website