1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Public School Teacher Fired

Discussion in 'Law School & Careers in Law' started by appleby, Apr 14, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. appleby

    appleby Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am a public school teacher who has been teaching in the same school for three and a half years, (once you complete your fourth year you're granted tenure). I was not granted tenure, and not invited back next year for various reasons. One of the reasons my principal sited was that I "failed to contact support staff." My principal claimed that I knew of a girl possibly being a danger to herself, but I didn't tell the social worker.

    However, what the principal didn't know, was that the former social worker, (who the same principal fired at the end of last year), was very aware of this girl's condition. This girl hasn't has shown no warning signs in the past year, and as a matter of fact, seems very happy and normal this year. I saw no need to inform the social worker of past problems not exhibited in the last year, (one would assume an old social worker's files get transferred to the new one.)

    I was fired on March 15 at about 2:00. I informed my principal, when she fired me, that I didn't conatct the social worker because the previous worker was already aware of any potential problems. When I said this to my principal she had a blank look on her face on moved on to her next reason for dismissing me, (she thinks I write too many passes to computer labs as well.) Literally, hours later was the school board meeting where my principal stated that I showed insubordination because I did not contact support staff.

    More than losing my job, I'm upset that my principal told the school board, (who include the parent of a former student, the husband of a collague and my neighbors), that I pose a threat to students because I won't contact a social worker. I feel like once something of that nature is said you can't take it back; the thought will always linger in the back of minds.

    I have looked up the legal definition of "defamation of character" and I was wondering if my case feel under those guidelines. Any help, assistance, or insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    A very good teacher
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    538
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I would think that there is some type of formal grievance policy -- are you aware of one?

    Regarding defamation, this would likely not be a case, rather one for "false light" claims which varies by state whether this would be available to you. Defamation of character refers to a false statement -- an opinion that you disagree with may not constitute as a false statement. If the principal states that he feels you are irresponsible, that is an opinion. If the principal stated that you never alerted anyone nor did you make sure that someone was aware of a dangerous situation concerning a young girl in her class, then that could classify as a false statement that is damaging to which you may file suit. These are typically not cheap claims.

    I'm sorry to hear about what happened but step one, IMHO, is to find out the steps that may be available to you to file a complaint. Do note that it seems that there are other facts here that we don't have that might explain a couple of sketchy areas ... I wish you good luck.

     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.