In a case of he-said, she-said, a high school cheerleading coach in Illinois claims she was fired for speaking out about sexual harassment, but the district says she was terminated over inappropriate text messages.
Bridget Guzior, the cheer coach at Stagg High School, filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights claiming that athletic director Terry Treasure had sexually harassed her, according to WGN-TV.
Her handwritten complaint, viewable here, cites a number of incidents in which Treasure allegedly crossed the line. Guzior describes being told to “smile more,” and Treasure inappropriately commenting on her appearance.
However, in a letter dated October 17, the district informed Guizor that it would recommend her removal over a text message she sent to a student in August.
The text message, which the district was made aware of after a parent complaint, read as follows:
“[STUDENT NAME], no matter how much we make each other want to bash our heads into a wall (most times a brick wall) I am so proud of the young adult you have become! Looking forward to an awesome year! Drama free the curse is over the bitch is gone!”
The student responded: “OMG Coach”
The district claims it had warned Guizor not to exchange text messages with students, and she was suspended without pay over the incident. In late September, Guizor came forward with her allegations for the first time.
In a statement, the district said it could not discuss the specifics of personnel matters due to privacy laws, but did describe policies and procedures around sexual harassment.
“The School District encourages employees to report sexual harassment and takes such reports very seriously by conducting thorough investigations and taking swift action when appropriate,” the statement reads.
“District 230 also believes firmly in investigating all of the facts of any complaint before reaching conclusions about the merits of the report or the guilt of the accused. The School District conducts a thorough investigation of any and all complaints of harassment.”