Longtime Moline teacher placed on administrative leave

Longtime Moline teacher placed on administrative leave

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Longtime Butterworth Elementary School teacher Rolanda Cabel walked into her fourth-grade the morning of March 6 like she had done many times before.

Only this time, she was met by a human resources administrator who told her that she had to leave the school immediately and that she had been placed on administrative leave with pay.

More than a month later, she still has not been formally notified as to the allegations leading to the district's decision to place her on leave.

Her attorney, Matt Pappas, however, said his client has been questioned twice about how she administered this year's Illinois Standard Achievement tests to her students.

Pappas said Cabel denies she did anything inappropriate.

"She did what she was required to do with the exam," Pappas said.

He added, "We’ve never received any allegations or have been told or informed what those allegations or the alleged improprieties are."

Moline-Coal Valley School District Superintendent David Moyer said this week that he cannot comment on personnel matters.

Cabel, who has been with the district for 14 years, has not been allowed back into her classroom since she was placed on leave.

Pappas said Cabel has cooperated "in good faith" with the investigation.

On March 22, Cabel was questioned for 6 1/2 hours by administrators regarding ISAT testing on March 4.

She was questioned again Wednesday.

Still, neither Pappas nor Cabel knows who has been interviewed or the exact nature of the allegations.

Pappas has known Cabel and her family for years. In his Rock Island practice, he typically takes cases involving companies, school districts and municipalities.

Cabel’s treatment by the district is what prompted him to take the case.

“It’s been kind of a kangaroo court in a lot of ways,” he said.

Pappas said Cabel had no incentive to help her students cheat on the test and she did what she was supposed to do when administering the test.

Although the investigation is ongoing, Cabel’s “life is being tried in a public forum," Pappas said. 

He added that his client has had an "impeccable performance evaluation over the last 14 years" and said she just wants to clear her name. 

“We want this over for her,” Pappas said. “They’ve destroyed her reputation. She’s emotionally a wreck because of what they’ve done.”

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