In April of last year, two ninth grade boys got into a fight in a Pershing High School classroom. The altercation escalated quickly and lasted over a minute. In an attempt to break up the fight, the students’ teacher used a broom, striking one boy across his back. The fight continued despite her attempts and finally ended when another classmate separated the boys.
The teacher’s decision to use the broom led to a meeting with the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), the organization which oversees the Pershing school district. According to the teacher, the EAA told her that she could either resign or be terminated. She refused to quit and was fired as a result. The EAA claims that she violated the corporal punishment provision under the Michigan school code.
The teacher was outraged and decided to take legal action. She is currently being represented by our firm’s own James Rasor and has filed a lawsuit against the EAA. Rasor believes that she deserves $25 million in damages for discrimination.
THE EAA ENGAGED IN “GROSS NEGLIGENCE,” SAYS RASOR
Fights are apparently a part of everyday life at Pershing High School, but Rasor says that his client was neither warned nor prepared toward this end. Although the EAA knew about the dangerous environment, they failed to disclose this information to the ninth grade teacher.
Information in the lawsuit indicates that one of the boys involved in the fight should never have been in the classroom in the first place. A suspected gang member, the student had been disciplined and suspended from school. Although he required a hearing to return, the EAA waived this requirement and allowed him to come back to class, without telling the teacher about his past.
Rasor now begs the question, “Why did they [EAA] use [the teacher] as a whipping boy for their own gross negligence?” The lawsuit claims that she was discriminated against for being both African-American and a woman. According to Rasor, other teachers have also physically intervened in fights but were never disciplined.
The EAA has not made any comments about the lawsuit, which also alleges that the teacher is suffering from psychological distress as a result of the incident. “This is about the destruction of her dream and her career,” says Rasor.
Rasor hopes that this lawsuit will bring light to the truth of what actually happened, despite the EAA’s attempts to bury it. He is pursuing justice on behalf of the teacher and believes the lawsuit was the only way to successfully do so.