Head of ESL's Alternative Education Center sues over reassignment

Ann Knef Jan. 29, 2008, 7:30am

The founder and principal of East St. Louis District 189's Alternative Education Center has filed suit against school officials and the district claiming she was fraudulently stripped of her role and reassigned to teach at a middle school.

Roslyn Cason, Ph.D. is seeking in excess of $225,000 in compensatory damages from District 189 President Lonzo Greenwood, Superintendent Theresa Saunders and Assistant Superintendent Kathy Walker-Steele, claiming they deliberately misled her in contract negotiations.

Represented by Thomas Q. Keefe, Jr. of Belleville, Cason also is seeking a mandatory injunction compelling the district to reinstate her as principal and head of the Alternative Education Center for the 2008-09 school year.

The suit was filed Jan. 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Cason, who was informed Aug. 10, 2007 that she had been reassigned to teach science at Clark Middle School, claims she informed officials before that date in writing that she had concerns about her contract, "specifically that the contract Plaintiff was being asked to sign had nothing to do with her position as principal at the Alternative Education Center, and rather pertained to Middle School principals," the complaint states.

"That at no point was Plaintiff told that failure to sign the contract would result in reassignment...," the complaint states.

Cason claims she was led to believe a new contract would be worked out for her to sign, "one which actually pertained to her position as principal of the Alternative Education Center."

"That Plaintiff, unaware and having no way of ascertaining that these representations were untrue, relied on them in good faith to her detriment in declining to sign the present contract so that she could wait for this new 'phantom' contract," the complaint states.

Cason claims she has suffered damage to her reputation and suffers ongoing mental and emotional anguish.

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