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Court Upholds Firing of Custodian Who Swore

(CN) - A school district had the right to fire a custodian for swearing in front of students, an Illinois appeals court ruled. Central Community Unit School district No. 4 fired Quentin Schumacher as head custodian at the high school after he was heard three times using profanity at school.

An arbitrator reinstated Schumacher, but the board of education refused to comply with the decision. An administrative law judge and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board ruled that the district violated state labor laws.

Judge Myerscough reversed the decision, ruling that the board should have considered Schumacher's past behavior as a substitute bus driver in making its decision.

While serving as a bus driver, Schumacher confiscated a student's headphones and CD player and broke the player when he threw it in the trash. That led to his removal as a bus driver.

"The (board's) decision to give no weight to Schumacher's conduct as a bus driver was arbitrary and capricious," Myerscough wrote. "The (board's) review was improperly limited to whether the arbitrator's award violated a public policy against using profanity in front of children."

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