Biggs v. Chicago Board of Education, No. 22-2031 (7th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Biggs served as interim principal of Burke Elementary School on an at-will basis. Under the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Transportation Policy, no CPS school employee may drive a student in a personal vehicle without written consent from the school’s principal and the student’s legal guardian. The principal must retain copies of the driver's license and insurance documentation. An investigation revealed that for many years, Biggs had directed her subordinates to mark late students as tardy, rather than absent, regardless of how many instructional minutes they received in a day, which likely skewed Burke’s attendance data. Biggs admitted that she had ordered Burke employees to pick up students in personal vehicles without written parental consent and did not keep copies of the drivers’ licenses or insurance documentation. Biggs was fired and designated Do Not Hire. The designation does not necessarily prevent the employee from being hired at a non-CPS school. It was disclosed at community meetings that Biggs’s firing was “about integrity” and a redacted copy of the report was read aloud.
Biggs sued, 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging deprivation of her liberty to pursue her occupation without due process, citing "stigmatizing public statements" in connection with her termination. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the summary judgment rejection of the suit. No reasonable jury could find that Biggs had suffered a tangible loss of employment opportunities within her occupation; she experienced nothing more than the customary difficulties and delays that individuals encounter when looking for a new job, especially after being fired.