Oak Lawn Community High School had one board member who tried to bring back local authority to the district.
Robert Cruz, an Oak Lawn resident running for the 6th House District seat, was accused of not upholding his oath by suing the district and Governor Pritzker.
Because of this, the school board voted Wednesday evening to impeach Cruz from his position.
We included videos from the District 229 board meeting in yesterday’s post.
The lawyer for the district repeatedly cited Cruz for allegedly violating the school and board member code and the oath he took.
During the meeting, Cruz repeatedly asked the lawyer what felony he would be charged with for his removal.
Naturally, there was none to hand to Cruz.
The lawyer kept calling Cruz a “rogue board member,” as though he needed to be put in his place.
District 229 played hardball Wednesday evening, siding with Governor Pritzker’s government overreach instead of letting Cruz get voted out of his seat.
The board cited that Cruz used the lawsuit for political gain yet refused to acknowledge Pritzker’s political gain from government overreach.
Cruz told his side of the story today on Fox News 32.
Not surprisingly, OLCHS already removed Cruz from their website.
The Daily Herald has more:
In an email Thursday, Cruz said he is disappointed by the board’s actions and expressed concern that it didn’t follow proper procedure — although he acknowledged not knowing what the proper procedure for removing a board member might be.
“We are going to review what steps were missed, if any, in the process,” Cruz said. “This is not the end. This is just the beginning.”
As of Thursday morning, Cruz’s name and photo had been removed from the Web page for the District 229 board.
Cruz had come under fire by his peers on the board and District 229 administrators for filing a lawsuit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state schools Superintendent Carmen Ayala in August over the state’s mask order. The suit, filed in Cook County circuit court, noted Cruz was acting “in his official capacity as a Member of the Oak Lawn Community High School District 229 School Board.”
Under state law, school board members cannot take action on their own or on behalf of the board or district. The school board has formally said it doesn’t support litigation against Pritzker or Ayala and that District 229 will follow directives from the state.
Cruz withdrew the first lawsuit but in early September filed a new one that added a second plaintiff and named District 229 as a co-defendant. That case, which was filed in Sangamon County but then was moved to federal court before being dismissed by a judge, has cost the district more than $25,000 to defend, documents indicate.
The second suit violated a state law that says board members should protect their districts from lawsuits, District 229 officials said. The lawsuit also created a conflict of interest for Cruz, officials alleged.
Additionally, officials said Cruz violated state law and board policy by speaking about government overreach at a Lyons Township High School District 204 board meeting in November, at which he identified himself as a District 229 board member despite not being authorized to speak on the board’s behalf.
District 229 officials also accused Cruz of violating his oath and the board’s code of conduct by using his status as a board member to promote his congressional campaign in a December news release.
The school board voted 6-1 to remove Cruz by declaring a vacancy on the panel; Cruz was the lone dissenter. It’ll be up to the board to appoint a successor.
Removing a board member due to disagreement on politics and not on felony charges sets a dangerous precedent moving forward.
Reactions range from rage to confusion.
Cruz ended his comment to his fellow board members with the following:
I believe that our system of government in the United States of America is the last light on Earth for freedom. So I leave you with this: in the words of the Poet Dillon Thomas, ‘rage, rage against the dying of the light.’
You can check out his final statement to the OLCHS board below:
As Cruz stated, “This is not the end. This is just the beginning.”