A federal jury has rejected the claims of a former high school principal in Chicago who contended in a lawsuit that he was unfairly fired and defamed by district officials amid a student sex scandal nearly three years ago.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the jury awarded no damages to John Thuet, former principal of Lincoln Park High School. It found that the Chicago school board, former district CEO Janice Jackson and other administrators were not liable.
Thuet’s attorneys, Matt Ryan and Terry Campbell, said that they’re disappointed with the verdict, but Thuet is “grateful” that Jackson and other district officials “had to admit, under oath,” that Thuet was never accused of engaging in any sexual misconduct or retaliating against anyone.
Thuet argued that he was deprived of due process, defamed and subjected to intentional infliction of emotional distress by his January 2020 dismissal. He was fired after claims came to light that a student was sexually assaulted on an unauthorized overnight boys varsity basketball trip to Detroit. Other, unrelated claims of misconduct by staff members followed.
Thuet’s attorneys said the damage to his reputation from his ouster has prevented him from working in education.
The attorneys contended that Jackson caused the district to “fire, scapegoat, tar and feather” the principal to save face for the newly created Office of Student Protections.
Attorneys for the district argued that Thuet failed to take accountability for his actions or to act on the “hundreds of hours of training” he’d received in proper reporting of misconduct.