Teacher’s hiring sparks outrage in Lyons
New SD103 English teacher charged with attempted murder
By Steve Metsch
Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty and other elected officials
are calling for sweeping changes at Lyons School District 103 after it was
learned a sixth-grade teacher who has been charged with attempted murder was
hired in August.
The controversy is over the hiring of Andres Rodriguez, who
in August was brought in to teach sixth-grade English at George Washington
In July 2017, Rodriguez, 40, was charged with seven counts
of attempted murder and a felony assault charge after he shot a motorist seven
times after a traffic altercation in Tinley Park. He is out on bond and
His arrest was discovered last week when a Google search by
another teacher found out about the shooting.
He was let go by two other school districts before being
hired by District 103.
News of his hiring has spread throughout the district and
brought a packed house to Monday night’s scheduled school board meeting.
The board immediately retreated into executive session
behind closed doors moments after the meeting was called to order.
Two board members, Jorge Torres and Michael Bennett, refused
to attend the executive session. Both sat at the board table to protest what
they said was the board’s attempt to avoid the issue.
“They changed the agenda at the last minute to misinform the
public,” Torres said.
Bennett said the board “is running away because they don’t
want to give answer. This is a little odd if you ask me.”
People came looking for answers, Bennett said. “It’s a stall
tactic, hope some people leave. Then they’ll come out and say they can’t talk
about the issues.”
Thirty-eight minutes later, the rest of the board returned
to a packed house.
The sometime noisy meeting was split between those who
supported the school board and those who agreed with the changes advocated by
Getty and others.
Reading a statement after the meeting began, board President
Marge Hubacek said the board became aware of the criminal charges against
Rodriguez on Oct. 18 and placed him on administrative leave until a review is
completed. He is being paid, she said.
Community reaction was mixed once the board opened the
meeting to public comments with some supporting the board and others demanding
One woman, who declined to give her name, said “the proper
steps were followed. The issue is he went under the table and lied to us. He’s
the issue, not the board.”
One man said he was “not happy with what happened,” but has
“every confidence in the board that they will do the right thing.”
Joi Conley, the mother of a student in the district, called
the board “unstable” noting four of six principals were replaced last year.
“How can the board be effective when the members rarely and,
in some ways appear to purposely, not see eye-to-eye? Conley said.
“Lyons School District 103 welcomed an extremely violent
person into our school district and gave him an open invitation and easy access
to our children, their teachers and other staff members to possibly commit
another heinous crime,” Conley said.
“Shame on all of you,” she added to applause. “Who will the
school board hold accountable for this preposterous decision?”
The board does not read job applications, board member
Shannon Johnson said. Hires are based on recommendations from staff and
principals, she said.
“If any of you would come to a board meeting more than once
ever,” Johnson said, “you’d know the correct process.”
Earlier in the meeting, Torres called on interim Supt.
Robert Madonia and the other interim Supt. Patrick Patt to resign, saying
they “failed the parents and students of District 103” by hiring Rodriguez.
Torres speculated that the school district officials knew
about Rodriguez’ past. “I think so because of the way he got put through,” he
said, but added he has “no clear evidence of that.”
Torres did not vote in favor of Rodriguez’ hiring because it
was included in a larger consent agenda and he was not comfortable voting
Bennett also said he’d like to see the board president and
interim superintendents resign: “That’s a good idea. It would help bring
confidence to the community that we’re going in the right direction.”
Earlier and down the street at the Lyons Public Library,
Getty and other officials called for swift action and spoke of state
legislation they say would prevent a hiring like this from ever happening
Getty, the father of a young daughter, said that as a
parent, he is “outraged by the failure of this school district.”
“We must put measures in place at the state level to stop
individuals who are charged with heinous crimes from working in our schools
with our children,” Getty said.
“Shame on the school board. Shame on the school
superintendents for failing our children, for failing our community as a
whole,” said Getty, who also demanded that Hubacek resign.
“It’s a horrific case. Again, he fired seven shots
into a human being over road rage, standing over him and firing into him when
he was down, according to witnesses,” said Cook County Commissioner and McCook
Mayor Jeff Tobolski.
“We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Tobolski
With that in mind, state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-11th) will
be introducing legislation in Springfield.
“My outrage is directed toward the board chairman, Marge
Hubacek, who hired these two part-time interim superintendents.”
Sandoval is calling for clearer disclosure practices for
Illinois teachers after Rodriguez was allowed to teach in multiple suburban
school districts while facing charges of attempted murder.
“It’s troubling. It’s even more troubling that he could slip
through the cracks and be hired by another school district without disclosing
this charge,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval said he will direct the Illinois State Board of
Education to conduct an investigation into the hiring and disclosure practices
at the three school districts – Lyons, Joliet and Cicero – where Rodriguez was
“Failure of disclosure should be immediate grounds for
dismissal,” Sandoval said, urging the resignation of Hubacek and the firing of
the interim superintendents.
Tobolski said it would have been easy to check on Rodriguez’
background using a cell phone.
“We all have Google on our phones. I don’t care if the guy’s
name was Stash Rodriguez. If you Google Rodriguez, this guy’s picture comes
up,” Tobolski said.
“We need accountability. Let’s move forward and put
procedures in place so this doesn’t happen in the great community of Lyons
again,” Tobolski added.
Getty said “with this happening, we have to look at all the
“We have to make sure there’s not an individual out there
who’s committed a crime, who is accused of crimes, that’s in our schools every
day teaching our children,” Getty said.
After Monday night’s board meeting, Hubacek and
Madonia said they had no plans to resign.
“It’s their right to speak,” Madonia said of the protestors.
“However, it’s premature until you know all the information. We have no
intention of resigning. We’re committed to this district. We’re committed to
Hubacek said she “understands emotion, but I was elected by
the people. I wasn’t elected by the grandstanders.”
“There is needed legislation. I hope this will be an impetus
so we don’t run into this situation again,” she said. “We followed the protocol
we had. We did what we were supposed to do.”
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