When people talk about sexual harassment in school, the devastating reality is that they are often talking about harassment against students. However, that does not mean that teachers and other adults in a school cannot be victims of the same misconduct.
For instance, a teacher at a school in another state says she was harassed by students over the course of nearly two years. But rather than handle the matter responsibly, the school allegedly fired the teacher for reporting the harassment.
According to the $15 million lawsuit the teacher filed, three seventh-grade boys would routinely harass her at school. They would make sexual comments, circle around her in the hallway and look her up and down while making lewd propositions.
The teacher reported the harassment in an email to the principal. Instead of taking action to stop the boys’ behavior and protect the teacher from further misconduct, the principal reportedly warned her against the content of her emails and forced the boys to apologize.
The harassment did not stop, though. And she continued to report the misconduct to the principal until she was abruptly fired without explanation. Her lawsuit argues that the firing was retaliation for her complaints and an indication that the school excused the harassment.
The case has yet to be resolved, though we will keep an eye on any developments.
As we enter another school year, we want to remind parents, students and teachers across Florida that everyone deserves protection from violations of their rights and threats to their safety in school. Should anyone suffer harassment or wrongful treatment in school, speaking to an attorney about the legal options can be helpful.