Coaches Corner* - LOWER FEDERAL COURTS AND STATE COURTS: PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION
Faculty and Administration
Teacher appealed board of education's decision to terminate her employment for insubordination and willful neglect of duties. A special education teacher violated the dress code, talked about students in front of parents and other students, and made inappropriate comments about students to other teachers. After discussion and warnings from the principal about her conduct, the teacher's inappropriate conduct continued. Held: For the board of education. Since the teacher continued to disregard the rules, even after warnings from the principal, the board of education found her to have knowingly violated the rules. The board of education's actions were supported by the evidence. Chattooga Co. Bd. of Educ. v. Searels, 691 S.E.2d 629 (Ga. App. 2010).
Teacher sued department of education and supervisor alleging discrimination and retaliation. The teacher was sexually assaulted by her supervisor. She reported it to the department of education and was told she could only file a complaint with the union. The teacher was sexually assaulted again, and the supervisor was arrested. The supervisor was later reinstated. Held: For the teacher. It was inappropriate for the board of education to hold the supervisor's reinstatement hearing without the teacher's knowledge or presence; the teacher suffered a material employment action. Moreover, the department of education did not act reasonably when the teacher told it about the sexual harassment. AgustyReyes v. Dept. of Educ. of Puerto Rico, 601 F.3d 45 (1st Cir. 2010).
Teacher sued school district for age discrimination. The teacher, age 54, said her contract was not renewed because the school district wanted to save money by reducing its retirement pay obligations. However, the school district said the teacher's contract was not renewed because of poor classroom management. Held: For the school district. The teacher presented no evidence of a link between her age and the school district's desire to save money. Further, the desire to save money is not prohibited by law. Reeder v. Wasatch Co. Sch. Dist., 359 Fed. Appx. 920 (10th Cir. 2009) (unpublished).
Teacher sued agency for suspending her teaching credentials. The elementary school teacher challenged the finding of the state credentialing agency that she was unfit to teach after three drunk-driving convictions. Held: For the agency. Drunk-driving convictions are not per se evidence of unfitness to teach. However, the weight of evidence demonstrated that the teacher endangered the public safety and was unfit to teach. Broney v. CaI. Commn. on Teacher Credentialing, 184 CaI. App. 4th 462 (3d Dist. 2010).
Teacher sued school district for termination over allegation of child abuse. The teacher asserted that the school district was precluded from acting upon an allegation of improper sexual contact with a student when an investigatory state agency determined the charges were unfounded. Held: For the school district. The school district could terminate the teacher's employment because it did not rely upon the state agency determination. Instead, it held its own independent investigation and hearing with witnesses and document submission which supported the charges. In re the Tenure Hearing of Young, 995 A. 2d 826 (N.J. 2010).
Teacher sued employer for challenging workers' compensation claim. The teacher was injured while chaperoning a school ski trip. Her employer argued the injury was not covered by workers' compensation because the teacher voluntarily participated in a recreational activity. Held: For the teacher. A chaperone participating in a school-sponsored activity is not engaged in recreational activities, but is acting in the course of employment and covered by workers' compensation insurance. In re Sikorski, 918 N.E.2d 30 (Mass. 2009).
Teachers sued principal, school and school district alleging violation of free speech. The school requested teachers to sign a code of conduct, agreeing to "refrain from actions or behavior harmful/hurtful to others at this school. …