Work wasn’t hard to come by for an Illinois educator accused of attempted murder — even after he was hit with the charge, he continued teaching at a middle school as he awaited trial, according to reports.
Andres Rodriguez was free on $500,000 bond when he worked as a substitute teacher and after-school detention monitor at Unity Junior High in Cicero, the Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday.
The 39-year-old is accused of opening fire on a driver during a brawl on July 18, 2017.
Prosecutors say Rodriguez was somehow struck by the 25-year-old driver’s car while walking – and pulled out his gun, shooting the victim in the side, back, arm and head. The victim, who was also armed, survived.
An attorney for the teacher argued at a bail hearing that the shooting was in self-defense and said he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Rodriguez, who is from Tinley Park, was released on bond the next day.
Following the violent altercation, Rodriguez was placed on administrative leave Aug. 17 by Joliet School District 86 – where he was working as an eighth-grade language arts teacher at the time – pending an investigation.
But prior to the shooting, Rodriguez had gotten a new job as a fifth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in Cicero School District 99, but was transferred to a more limited position as a substitute teacher at Unity.
He started his new job less than two weeks after his suspension from District 86 went into effect.
In a letter to parents Wednesday, Superintendent Rodolfo Hernandez said Rodriguez is now “an inactive employee who is on leave from the district.”
“We want to assure you that District Administration has and continues to proactively address this matter,” Hernandez wrote in the letter published by WGNTV. “When District Administration was made aware of this situation, immediate action was taken. The employee was placed on leave and has had no contact with students or staff since such time.”
Hernandez didn’t say when exactly Rodriguez was suspended, only that it was “several months ago.”
The Illinois State Board of Education can suspend a teacher’s license for crimes such as attempted murder, but are prohibited from taking further action pending a conviction, ISBE spokeswoman Jaclyn Matthews told the Tribune.
It appears Rodriguez also got paid by both school districts while out on bond – a District 86 meeting agenda posted online this week said it had been unaware that Rodriguez was teaching in Cicero until last week.