KANKAKEE — The termination of Kankakee School District 111 staff member Gloria Kennedy sparked more pushback from a fellow employee and drew a crowd of over a dozen supporters before ultimately being approved during Tuesday’s Kankakee School Board meeting.
Kennedy’s termination was approved by 5-1 vote, with the dissenting vote coming from board member Tracy Verrett.
Board members Mary Archie, Chris Bohlen, Deb Johnston, Darrell Williams and Barbara Wells voted to approve the termination, while Jess Gathing abstained.
The board met in closed session at 5:30 p.m., with the regular meeting beginning at 7 p.m. Kennedy’s termination was the only item on the agenda.
The item had been tabled during the previous board meeting on July 12. During that meeting, Kennedy addressed the board regarding the termination, alleging her supervisor created an unhealthy work environment and asked her to complete tasks that were not in her job description.
According to board documents, Kennedy was a project manager for R3 Grant/Youth Empowerment Program at King Middle School.
Kennedy was present at the meeting Tuesday, though she did not address the board during the public comment section.
She did, however, direct a comment to board members immediately after the meeting was adjourned.
“Thank you, Ms. Verrett. It’s amazing how quickly you all forget, but it’s OK. We won’t forget when it’s time to vote again,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy declined comment to the Daily Journal after the meeting.
Robert Ellington-Snipes, a paraprofessional in KSD111, addressed the board during public comment Tuesday regarding Kennedy’s termination. He also spoke up for Kennedy during the previous meeting.
“This is not a termination for a just cause; this is a termination just because I want you gone,” he said. “My vote and many other votes in this community elected this board to serve with integrity, dignity and with compassion.”
He said Kennedy is a “person of integrity” who graduated from the school district and has worked there for over eight years; he also referenced Kennedy’s service in the U.S. Army Reserve.
“Gloria Kennedy is a good soldier,” Ellington-Snipes said. “She would have never made it through 10 weeks of basic training in the military if she couldn’t follow directions.”
The reasons listed for Kennedy’s termination were “failure to complete assigned tasks,” “failure to meet deadlines,” and “insubordination to supervisor,” according to board documents.
A group of more than a dozen audience members followed Kennedy outside after the meeting, asking her questions about the situation and seemingly showing their support for her despite the board’s decision.