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Vegan teacher threatens to sue school district
By Jameel Naqvi | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/11/2007 1:16 AM

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Fox River Grove Middle School teacher Dave Warwak gave school officials an ultimatum Monday: Go vegan, or I'll sue.

Warwak told school officials that unless the middle school served exclusively vegan lunches, which contain no animal products, Warwak would pursue a case against the school for its violation of the Illinois school code.

"The state of Illinois is not going to be happy with Fox River Grove when they find out that the vision they have for Illinois schools is being abandoned," Warwak said.

Warwak's offer came less than a week after school officials removed him from his middle school art classroom for teaching his students about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

Even after a Monday afternoon meeting between Warwak and school officials, the status of his job was still unclear. Warwak said school officials told him Monday that he was insubordinate but that as far as he knows, he is still employed and receiving a paycheck.

"I'm legally employed, but they don't want me in the building," Warwak said.

Fox River Grove Middle School Principal Tim Mahaffy declined to comment on Warwak's employment or his threat of legal action.

Warwak told school administrators they were in violation of Section 27-15 of the Illinois school code on moral and humane education.

The section states: "The superintendent of each region and city shall include once each year moral and humane education in the program of the teachers' institute which is held under his supervision."

During the eight years Warwak has worked for Fox River Grove School District 3, he has never received instruction in moral and humane education, he said.

"That means they're in violation at least eight times," Warwak said.

When Warwak called McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi about the issue, Bianchi suggested he contact the District 3 school board or the state board of education.

"We have nothing to do with school curriculum," Bianchi said.

A state board of education spokesman said Warwak could file his complaint with the McHenry County Regional Office of Education.

Warwak said there are animal rights organizations standing by to provide vegan lunches to everyone in the middle school.

"The only way I'll drop charges is if the school goes vegan," Warwak said.