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NJ teacher says sexual harassment complaint caused non-tenure

Unfortunately, complaints about sexual harassment are not always handled properly.

A former English teacher at a New Jersey high school is claiming she was denied tenure after complaining of sexual harassment by a male student. A lawsuit filed by the woman alleged that the student harassed her during the 2010-11 school year.

The lawsuit is based on sex discrimination and sexual harassment allegations. The teacher alleges that the student harassed her by making inappropriate comments about her physical features in class and requesting that she order him a T-shirt with an obscene acronym, among other activities. The student is described as a successful athlete who was in one of the teacher's classes and was a participant in the school's drama club, for which she served as a co-adviser.

The English teacher's lawsuit, filed in November of 2011 in Superior Court in Morristown, names the local board of education and superintendent as defendants.

The teacher claims she was not rehired at the school because she had reported the alleged sexual harassment, and that her supervisor's written reasons for not rehiring her tried to hide this motive. However, the superintendent contends that this teacher and other non-tenured teachers were not rehired at the high school because two other tenured teachers were moved into their non-tenured positions.

The suit seeks a court order reinstating the plaintiff to her teaching position with tenure and an unspecified amount in damages.

No one should have to put up with sexual harassment or discrimination. If the allegations claimed by the teacher are true, she certainly deserves justice. A spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association said that the law grants non-tenured teachers limited rights. He went on to say the only way for the teacher to challenge her dismissal is to claim her legal rights were violated. By filing this lawsuit the former English teacher is doing just that.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Former Boonton teacher claims she was denied tenure after reporting student sexual harassment," Ben Horowitz, Nov. 21, 2011

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