Fox River Grove, IL – Dave Warwak, the tenured middle school teacher in Illinois who was fired last fall for incorporating veganism in his art lessons, is costing his former school district a great deal more than dinnertime anguish.
Warwak, who filed an appeal with the Illinois State Board of Education last October for wrongful termination said of the hearings that lasted over 30 hours, “it is expensive hiding the truth” and noted, “those figures are from April before the hearings and are much higher now.”
According to Fox River Grove SD 3 Meeting Minutes, Board member Steve Knar asked to look at legal fees, which are currently budgeted at $78,000 – the original budgeted amount was $25,000. Knar wanted to know how that number could change, why we changed the original number, and from where the money would come.
District superintendant Jackie Krause stated, “the line item was increased to meet the substantial increase in legal fees. The increased amount is likely to be covered by positive balances from other line items in the education fund. If this is not sufficient, some money would come from surplus.”
Meanwhile, in the midst of the school’s legal and financial woes, Warwak has published a book, “Peep Show For Children Only” which includes actual transcripts from the hearings.
Warwak’s 497-page manifesto is getting him into trouble with parents. Criticisms stem from a meeting Warwak arranged with his former students at a McDonalds.
Warwak set up a meeting to distribute copies of his book. When asked why he felt it necessary to give his book to the children, Warwak explained, “the book was written for my friends so they wouldn’t end up like their parents – why wouldn’t I give them copies?” Warwak further explains, “making the transcripts public shines light on the proceedings that were closed to the public. The meat-eaters would like to keep veganism a secret from the public, especially the children.”
Fox River Grove police became involved when news of Warwak’s meeting spread. Police visited several children’s homes and confiscated their books as evidence.
FRG Police claim to have recovered six books but could not charge Warwak with any crime.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Carroll said, “while we certainly do not condone what he did – we don’t think it was appropriate – … we are unable to charge Mr. Warwak with violation of any criminal statute.”
Warwak said there was nothing inappropriate about distributing information on veganism, the practice of not eating any animal products, and countered, “I can’t condone what they are doing, nor do I think it is appropriate for the school to serve children recalled beef and with all the school shootings that happened and the climate of schools today, something has to change, so I offer solutions in my book – Humane Education is what’s needed – that is what’s missing in schools.”
No verdict has been announced in the proceedings that officially closed June 3rd. Hearing officer Barry Simon could not be reached for comment.