Dan Coyne, Social Worker Who Donated Kidney To Grocery Store Clerk, Could Lose CPS Job Over Controversial Policy
UPDATE: CPS chief executive Ron Huberman told the Chicago Tribune that he personally will review the matter and was freezing any action regarding Coyne until that review is complete.
In March, Chicago Public Schools social worker Dan Coyne gave one of his kidneys to a beloved grocery store cashier who was incredibly ill. The amazing act of generosity garnered national attention, and Coyne is slated to be honored as a humanitarian at a luncheon for Chicago Public Schools social workers on Thursday--but after that, he might be fired.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Coyne, who has been praised as a hero and a generally fantastic employee, received a letter last week from the Chicago Board of Education saying he had violated the district's controversial residency requirement.
The violation? He lives in Evanston.
The Tribune reports:
The notice, signed by CPS chief Ron Huberman, states Coyne must move to Chicago by July 31 or face dismissal.
The warning letters are part of the district's attempt to enforce an unpopular but decades-old requirement that teachers and other school employees live in the city, in part so that they contribute to the tax base that funds schools.
The Chicago Teachers Union is also opposed to the policy. Coyne's boss, Pershing East Principal Antonia Hill, declared March 23 "Dan Coyne Day" to honor his kidney donation. She said his act of generosity inspired students at the school--and bashed the residency policy.
"Anyone who wants to commute and put in time and energy -- especially if they're making a difference -- should be allowed to live wherever they want," Hill told the Tribune.
Coyne, who has lived in north suburban Evanston for 18 years and has two school-age children, told the Tribune he plans to meet the requirements, even if it means renting a room in the city:
He calls his work "life-giving to both me and the people I serve." But he has no plans to uproot his loved ones, who now include [grocery store clerk Myra] de la Vega and her family.
"How many hours do I have to sleep in Chicago to meet the requirement?" he asked. "I'd rather be with my family, my church and my community than play this game."
"He's a hero in the eyes of many Chicagoans, but unfortunately the database system is blind to that," CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond told the paper.
WATCH CNN's coverage of Coyne's kidney donation here: