Updated: December 19, 2012 6:52PM
A Chicago Public Schools gym teacher and former coach with a history of allegations of inappropriate behavior with students was removed this week from Lane Tech College Prep, in the wake of inquiries by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Frank Lollino, Jr., a former winning basketball coach at both the prep and community college levels, had been under CPS investigation for allegations made this semester by students at that selective enrollment school.
The $90,000-a-year gym and driver’s education teacher was accused of making suggestive sexual comments, according to complaints by some parents.
The tenured teacher was pulled from classroom instruction on Dec. 13 and reassigned to administrative duties within the school, according to CPS.
And as of Monday, he was off work with pay pending reassignment.
“This whole situation right now is so disheartening,” the 41-year-old Lollino said when reached at home Wednesday. “But I haven’t spoken to my attorney yet, so I don’t think it would be prudent to discuss this now.”
A CPS employee for 18 years, Lollino has never been charged with a crime.
And past similar allegations have not been sustained — only lesser misconduct.
“I’m extremely uncomfortable knowing my child is in the presence of somebody with this deep history of accusations and absolutely appalled that the Board has not acted,” complained one parent who asked not to be identified because of her teen.
CPS confirmed at least three parents over the course of the semester had formally requested their teens be removed from Lollino’s classes.
“These are serious allegations, and we are actively investigating,” a CPS spokesman responded to initial inquiries about these newest allegations.
Earlier this year, Lollino had been accused in a Cook County Circuit Court petition of requesting sex in exchange for rent payments and otherwise sexually harassing a basketball player at Morton College.
He’d been the part-time but highly successful men’s coach at Morton from 2006 until last year, when his contract expired and the college declined to renew it.
Former Morton student Patrick Terrell — charging Lollino’s harassment forced him to leave the school and give up scholarships — in January filed a petition for discovery against Lollino, Community College District 527 and the Chicago Board of Education. It was dismissed in March after the college successfully argued the petition was too wide-ranging, and a “fishing expedition.” No lawsuit was filed.
Lollino also faced similar allegations at Lane Tech in 2005.
After a successful run as varsity coach at Austin High from 1994 to 2001, he’d held the position at Lane until one of his players accused him of offering him money for sex, according to documents, which indicate a police investigation didn’t find the accusations credible enough to pursue criminal charges.
An ensuing Board investigation, however, found Lollino allowed players to sleep at his house the night before early morning trips, drove players home from practice without written parental permission, and also swore at players.
He was removed from the school, and CPS sought to fire him. But months later, an independent hearing officer ruled the Lane player’s allegations “highly suspect,” and said the other improprieties didn’t warrant firing.
Lollino was reinstated with back pay in May 2006 — but banned from coaching.
The new allegations were brought to CPS attention by parents of the students.
A warning resolution — signed by then Schools CEO Arne Duncan and adopted by the Board on May 24, 2006 — specifically provided that any future such misconduct by Lollino “will result in the preferring [sic] of dismissal charges.”
“Currently, Mr. Lollino has been pulled from the classroom and is not in contact with students,” the CPS spokesman reported this week. “He’s being pulled out of the building pending his further due process.”
HOW DO THEY EXPLAIN THE CHANGE IN HOW THEY ARE TREATING HIM? I KNOW WE MAY HAVE CAUSED IT, BUT IS THERE ANY OFFICIAL REASON THEY GIVE? No reason given.