Teacher charged with attempted murder kept teaching while out on bond

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Teacher Kept Teaching While Out On Bond For Attempted Murder

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

An Illinois teacher charged with attempted murder last summer managed to work as a substitute in a middle school for several months before his past was found out.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Andres R. Rodriguez, who also goes by Andrew Rodriguez, was serving as a substitute teacher and after-school detention proctor at Unity Junior High, a school in the Cicero School District 99. Cicero is a suburb of Chicago. 

At the time an eighth-grade language arts teacher in the Joliet School District 86, he was hired by the Cicero district last summer.

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Less than a month after Cicero hired him, Rodriguez was involved in a July 18 traffic skirmish with a driver after Rodriguez, who was a pedestrian, struck the other man's car, the Tribune said. The argument devolved into a physical fight.

Rodriguez, 39, of Tinley Park, shot the man seven times with a .380-caliber handgun, including firing multiple rounds after the victim was already on the ground, prosecutors said at the time of the shooting. Despite suffering gunshot wounds to the head, back, side and arm, the man survived.

Rodriguez, whose attorneys argue he acted in self-defense, left the scene, but returned after police arrived. He had blood on him, the Tribune reported.

The longtime teacher was booked on a charge of attempted murder and released the following day on bail of $500,000, the newspaper said.

The Joliet school district, which was still technically his employer, placed Rodriguez on paid leave. Less than two weeks later, he began his new job in the Cicero district.

Cicero schools Superintendent Rodolfo Hernandez said in a statement to CBS Chicago that his office took action immediately upon learning of Rodriguez's pending charges.

“District 99 performed all necessary due diligence and administered proper employment action within the legal limits of the law, which included immediately placing the employee on leave from the district,” Hernandez said. “This employee has been on leave and has not been on district grounds since February 16, 2018. Since such time, this employee has had no contact with any students, staff, or parents of District 99.”

Because of the ongoing criminal proceedings, no additional information was released by Cicero school officials.

The Tribune reported that records show Rodriguez was initially slated to serve as a full-time fifth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School, but was moved to his more limited role as an internal substitute. He continued to be paid the full-time salary, however.

The newspaper found no evidence that the Cicero school district notified state education officials of Rodriguez’s pending criminal case. There was also no evidence that parents, students or staff were notified.

Rodriguez was apparently receiving payment from both the Cicero and Joliet school districts simultaneously, the Tribune said. An agenda for the Joliet district's board of school inspectors' meeting this week includes a proposed resolution that, if approved, would authorize district lawyers to "pursue reimbursement of all compensation paid to Teacher during the 2017-2018 school year through any reasonably necessary means, including litigation."

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