Shoot­ing sus­pect teach­ing in Lyons

School Dis­trict 103 puts man on leave pend­ing probe

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Zak Koeske

A teacher charged with at­tempted mur­der in Tin­ley Park last year has been work­ing since Au­gust at a mid­dle school in Lyons School Dis­trict 103, school of­fi­cials said.

An­dres Ro­driguez, 40, who was dis­missed from Ci­cero School Dis­trict 99 over the sum­mer after his pend­ing crim­i­nal case came to light, was hired in Lyons as a six­th­grade English Lan­guage Arts teacher on Aug. 28 at a salary of $52,822, school board meet­ing min­utes show.

He is ac­cused of shoot­ing a man seven times, in­clud­ing sev­eral times while stand­ing over him after he’d fallen to the ground, fol­low­ing a traf­fic dis­pute in the 6900 block of 173rd Place in Tin­ley Park in July 2017.

Ro­driguez, whose at­tor­ney ar­gued his ac­tions were made in self-de­fense, was re­leased on $500,000 bond the day after his ar­rest, court records show.

Nei­ther he nor his at­tor­ney im­me­di­ately re­turned a re­quest for com­ment.

Dis­trict 103 in­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Pa­trick Patt said he’d only learned of Ro­driguez’s pend­ing crim­i­nal case on Thurs­day, and had ini­ti­ated an im­me­di­ate re­view of the sit­u­a­tion.

The dis­trict ad­dressed the mat­ter in a let­ter to par­ents and staff Fri­day, but did not use Ro­driguez’s name or pro­vide specifics of his case.

“We want to as­sure you that the safety and se­cu­rity of our stu­dents and staff is a top pri­or­ity,” the state­ment reads. “To that end, we have placed the staff mem­ber on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave un­til we are able to con­clude our re­view.”

The state­ment goes on to say that “le­gal con­straints”

may pre­vent the dis­trict from shar­ing ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about the sit­u­a­tion, but that the dis­trict would at­tempt to keep the com­mu­nity “up­dated to the great­est ex­tent pos­si­ble.”

Patt said Fri­day that he couldn’t com­ment much beyond what was re­leased in the dis­trict’s state­ment, but did say that Ro­driguez had been sub­jected to a back­ground check be­fore be­ing hired.

“All I can re­ally tell you is that we do back­ground checks on all new em­ploy­ees, and when noth­ing shows up we pre­sume ev­ery­thing is clear,” he said.

When asked whether the dis­trict might con­sider mod­i­fy­ing its process for con­duct­ing back­ground checks go­ing for­ward, he said he be­lieved there were al­ways ways to im­prove the dis­trict’s pro­cesses.

Hu­man re­sources di­rec­tor Kim­berly On­tiveros de­clined to­com­men­tonRo­driguez’s hire.

Jorge Tor­res, the only Dis­trict 103 board mem­ber who voted against the Aug. 28 con­sent agenda that in­cluded Ro­driguez’s hir­ing, said­he­was con­cerned about the dis­trict’s vet­ting process and planned to raise the is­sue at Mon­day’s board meet­ing.

“This is in­fu­ri­at­ing tome,” he said. “I’m on the board and I’m a tax­payer and a for­mer par­ent of a stu­dent in the dis­trict, so this is re­ally con­cern­ing to me and alarm­ing.”

As of late Fri­day morn­ing, Ro­driguez still ap­peared in a staff direc­tory on Dis­trict 103’s Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Mid­dle School web­site. His on­line staff list­ing, which is ac­com­pa­nied by a pho­to­graph, iden­ti­fies him as a sixth-grade English Lan­guage Arts teacher.

Ro­driguez was em­ployed by Joliet School Dis­trict 86 when he was charged with at­tempted mur­der last year, but had qui­etly ac­cepted a new job in Ci­cero School Dis­trict 99 about a month be­fore the shoot­ing, records show.

Joliet placed him on paid ad­min­is­tra­tive leave a month­laterand­for­bade­him from set­ting foot at the ju­nior high where he’d taught eighth-grade lan­guage arts, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter in Ro­driguez’s dis­ci­plinary file.

While on leave in Joliet, Ro­driguez be­gan work­ing the job he’d pre­vi­ously been of­fered in Dis­trict 99.

Pay­roll records show he started teach­ing at Unity Ju­nior High in Ci­cero on Aug. 29, 2017, just 12 days after be­ing place­donleave in Joliet and less than six weeks after bond­ing out of Cook County Jail.

Records show that Joliet con­tin­ued pay­ing Ro­driguez even after he be­gan teach­ing in Ci­cero last year, ap­par­ently un­aware that he’d ac­cepted an­other job. Be­tween both dis­tricts, Ro­driguez re­ceived more than $90,000 last school year be­fore Joliet be­came aware he­was teach­ing else­where and cut off his bi­weekly pay­ments, records show.

He served as an in­ter­nal sub­sti­tute and after-school de­ten­tion proc­tor in Ci­cero for six months be­fore dis­trict of­fi­cials there claim to have be­come aware of his “sit­u­a­tion.”

Ci­cero placed Ro­driguez on paid leave in mid-Fe­bru­ary, and the board moved to dis­miss him at its April 18 meet­ing, ef­fec­tive June 4, records show.

A few months later, he was hired in Lyons, min­utes show.

De­spite the felony charges he faces, Ro­driguez’ ed­u­ca­tor’s li­cense re­mains in good stand­ing and he is legally per­mit­ted to con­tinue teach­ing, records show.

While the Illi­nois State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion may sus­pend an ed­u­ca­tor’s li­cense for com­mis­sion of crimes like at­tempted mur­der, it can­not take ac­tion un­til the ed­u­ca­tor has been con­victed of the crime, ISBE spokes­woman Ja­clyn Matthews said ear­lier this year.

Ro­driguez is due back in courtNov. 28.


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