Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION

Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION

Article excerpt

Employment and Dismissal - Teachers

Teacher sued state education department alleging retaliatory termination. A teacher claimed she was a victim of sexual discrimination and filed a claim. She contends she was fired as result of filing a claim. Held: For the education department. For a retaliation claim to survive, a causal connection must exist between the filing of the discriminatory claim and the retaliatory act. Because the teacher could not establish a link between the two, the claim was dismissed. Stucky v. Dept. of Educ, 283 Fed. Appx. 503 (9th Cir. 2008).

Substitute teacher sued school district for employment discrimination. A substitute teacher, who had been convicted of 13 felonies, sued the school district because the district would not hire the teacher for a permanent position. Held: For the school district. The district's policy against hiring convicted felons was legitimate in light of the school district's interest in protecting children. Crook v. El Paso lndep. Sch. Dist., 277 Fed. Appx. 477 (5th Cir. 2008).

Teacher sued school district for pregnancy-based discrimination. Before taking maternity leave, a teacher had received nothing but the highest evaluation marks for progressing towards tenure. After returning, the teacher was subject to alleged harsh treatment and received lower marks regarding tenure. The teacher was subsequently replaced. Held: For the teacher. The teacher had shown she was still affected by her pregnancy, that she was qualified for the position from which she was terminated, that she was affected by an adverse employment action, and that circumstances under which she was terminated were enough to call into question any legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons given for her termination. Helmes v. S. Colonie C. Sch. Dist., 564 F. Supp. 2d 137 (N.D.N.Y. 2008).

Teacher sued employer board of education for discrimination. A dyslexic teacher was not allowed to use a dictionary during a test that was required by the board of education for the licensing of teachers. Held: For the board of education. A dictionary would allow the teacher to avoid demonstrating the fundamental skills that the test is supposed to measure. Her request was not reasonable, so the board of education was not required to accommodate. Falchenberg v. N. Y. St. Dept. of Educ, 567 F. Supp. 2d 513 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).

Teacher sued principal for sexual harassment and retaliation. A teacher alleged that before he resigned, the principal reassigned his classroom after he refused to go out for drinks with her. He also claimed the principal improperly touched him. The teacher was given a chance to rescind his resignation, but did not. A principal hired a new person to replace the teacher. Held: For the principal. The touching incident was isolated, so the work environment was not hostile, and other teachers had their rooms reassigned, so there was no retaliation. The principal was not liable for sexual harassment or discrimination. Callahan v. Buerkle, 570 F. Supp. 2d 288 (Conn. 2008).

Teacher sued school district alleging that he was not given a fair hearing prior to termination. A teacher, employed at-will, had refused to provide medical records, as required by the school, after missing several days of work. The teacher was fired. The teacher claimed he should have been given a hearing before getting fired. Held: For the school district. The terms of the at-will employment contract allowed for termination without cause, so a hearing was not required. Goodmann v. Hasbrouck Heights Sch. Dist., 275 Fed. Appx. 105 (3d Cir. 2008).

Teacher sued school district, claiming that procedures for firing tenured teachers were not followed. After using a ruler against one student and failing to make lesson plans, a teacher was fired. Held: For the teacher. Even though she was fired in compliance with the tenured teacher manual, improper documents and procedures were used to carry out the termination. …

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