Teacher agrees to resign in exchange for Arizona district dropping disciplinary charges, but insists she was the victim of retaliation
The Republic reports that Sarah Green, an elementary school teacher, has agreed to resign her position with Gilbert Public Schools (GPS) in return for district officials dropping 20 disciplinary charges against her. Green, who had been on paid leave for the past six months, insists she did nothing wrong and that she was the victim of administration retaliation for reporting student bullying, questioning why it was never addressed, and opposing racial discrimination against another teacher who resigned.
Green was removed from her Highland Park Elementary School third grade class on November 22, 2011. GPS subsequently filed 20 personnel charges against her, such as violating school board policies and her employment contract, including policies on staff conduct, gifts to and solicitations by staff members, staff conduct with students, professional staff duties and responsibilities, and unprofessional and immoral conduct.
District officials recommended the school board approve Green’s dismissal. The school board took the first step by approving the charges on December 6, 2011. However, when Green exercised her right to request a hearing and refused to resign, she was put on paid leave through the rest of the 2011-2012 school year, but the hearing never took place.
Green said the problems began in February 2011 when she reported student bullying in her classroom. Green said she was moved to another school “involuntarily” in retaliation for her report. She questions why she was taken out of her classroom mid-year, and why a hearing was never held.
As part of the settlement, Nikki Blanchard, GPS’ associate superintendent, gave Green a letter saying she is “eligible for rehire,” which is important for a teacher to seek employment elsewhere in the state. GPS also agreed to give Green $12,000 for her attorney fees. Green and her parents, Denise and Tom Green, contend GPS agreed to withdraw the charges in order to avoid a hearing. According to her parents: “Withdrawing charges shows the district never had reason to disrupt Sarah’s classroom in the middle of the school year.”
Source: The Republic, 6/8/12, By Hayley Ringle
[Editor's Note: In March 2012, Legal Clips summarized an article in The Washington Post, which reported that six former and current teachers at Kemp Mill Elementary School had filed suit against Montgomery County Public schools for alleging bullying by the school’s principal.]