Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis says Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently lost his temper with her during a conversation about implementing a longer school year.
Lewis said she sat down with Emanuel a couple weeks ago to talk about how to roll out the longer year to make it effective for students. But the mayor wasn't interested, she said.
"He did not want to have that conversation," Lewis said in a statement Friday to explain the unfair labor lawsuit the CTU filed against the school board.
"When I explained to him that a longer school day should not be used for warehousing or babysitting our youth he exploded, used profanity, pointed his finger in my face and yelled," she said. "At that point the conversation was over -- soon thereafter we found ourselves subject to a full-scale propaganda war over a moot point."
Emanuel said Friday he wouldn't get into a "he said, she said" with Lewis.
According to CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin, Emanuel told Lewis to go to hell. "And some other choice non-mayoral words," Gadlin said.
Gadlin said she was "taken aback but wasn't afraid of him either."
When Ahern asked Emanuel during a July one-on-one interview about where he planned to send his kids to school, he told her his children weren't public figures and turned to walk out of the room.
He then doubled back, pointed his finger at her and raised his voice, admonishing her for the question. "You've done this before," he said.
When Ahern called him later to clear the air, the mayor was still upset. “You are wrong and a bully," Emanuel said. "I care deeply for my family. I don't care about you."
With that, he hung up the phone.
Ahern called the exchange one of the oddest moments in her 29 years of reporting.