Date registered: Sep 2004
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Teacher Awarded $307,000 in Harassment Suit
A teacher in South Carolina was awarded $307,000 in her suit against the school board. The allegations were that this caucasion teacher was harassed repeatedly in this predominanrtly black school. She was called "cracker," "motherfucker" and other epithets by her 12 - 15 year old students.
As bad as that sounds when she complained about this treatment to the school administration, and that this harassment was impairing the ability of the other students to learn, she was told by the principal (who was black) that she would just have to put up with this behavior as "this is their culture...and if you don't like cursing this isn't the school for you." The school refused to discipline these students.
I think that this settlement, although a good start, is insufficient. The teacher now, through no fault of her own, is unemployed and may be unemployable in that district.
If I were on that jury I would have bankrupted the school board and that ignorant principal.
Teacher wins $307,000 in discrimination suit
Woman claimed racial harassment
The Associated Press
CHARLESTON - A federal jury awarded a white, former Charleston County middle school teacher $307,000 in damages after deciding she was racially harassed while teaching at a predominantly black school.
Elizabeth Kandrac sued in 2004 claiming she was verbally abused almost daily at Brentwood Middle School in North Charleston.
She left after less than a year when her bike tires were slashed.
Her suit against the Charleston County School District claimed racial discrimination and harassment, breach of contract and retaliation.
The jury decided in her favor after a six-day trial, upholding her claim the district and the school staff did not take her complaints seriously.
"It was a victory for teachers, students and everybody who told the truth about what's happening in the classroom," Kandrac said.
Kandrac's lawyer, Larry Kobrovsky, said the verdict means it will cost school districts that ignore such complaints.
"The message from this day forward is, this kind of behavior has to end," he said.
The district contended Kandrac was a poor teacher who did not maintain order or connect with students.
"If you can get these kids to trust you, they don't see black-white," testified Assistant Principal Reggie Bright, who is white. "We had black teachers and white teachers who couldn't handle the kids."
But the jury of nine white women, two white men and a black woman agreed with Kandrac that the school presented a "hostile work environment."
"I think we felt there was a problem in the school and we didn't feel it was addressed as well as it should have been," said juror Janet Burnsed.
School board member Ray Toler called the ruling "a step in the right direction" to protect the interests of students and staff.
But board chairwoman Nancy Cook said she would favor appealing. She said that is now up to the district's insurance company. If there was discrimination going on, "this board would be all over that," she added.