By KELLY MAHONEY
FOX RIVER GROVE – Former District 3 art teacher Dave Warwak has lost his appeal of his September firing.
An Illinois State Board of Education hearing officer sided with the board of education’s unanimous decision to dismiss Warwak, 45, of Williams Bay, Wis., after eight years with the district.
“I don't feel vindication but I'm glad for our administrators,” said Steve Knar, vice president of the school board.
Knar said he was pleased with how Principal Tim Mahaffy, now the superintendent, dealt with the situation.
“He just did an absolutely great job under a situation that you obviously don't run into every day as an administrator,” Knar said. “Everything was handled as I would expect our administrators to handle it.”
A former fishing guide, Warwak became a vegan in January of 2007, meaning he does not consume any animal products, including meat, dairy or eggs.
At the time of the firing, the board said Warwak began teaching veganism and animal rights without informing the school, he told students not to disclose the lessons and then did not answer officials’ questions.
Warwak said that was not the case. He said he was disappointed with the ruling, but declined to release a copy of it.
“This is frustrating for me because their rulings don't make sense; it's very slanted,” Warwak said. “Nowhere in the 62 pages does [the hearing officer] address the children's health or well-being.”
Warwak said he is considering legal action against the school for a news release he said was untrue. In the meantime, Warwak said he does not plan to change his message.
“It's OK because they can't keep me away from Fox River Grove,” Warwak said. “They can fire me from the school. If I was still teaching there ... I'd still be having an influence in that town. If I just leave them alone, it would be letting them have their way.”
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