A teacher in Brooklyn has won a landslide settlement after she said she was ‘treated like dirt’ by her students, who would throw condoms at her and verbally abuse her.
Theresa Reel, who taught at the High School for Legal Studies in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, said that her former employer punished her for speaking out.
Because of her hardships, the city has awarded her $450,000.
Ms Reel, 52, filed a lawsuit against the high school in 2008, after she said that her complaints of sexual and verbal harassment fell on deaf ears.
She said at the time that she kept quiet for three years ‘because I didn’t have tenure.’
The educator told the New York Daily News at the time that she was sent a letter from the Department of Education chastising her for wearing a ‘low-cut, V-neck lace top,’ which they deemed ‘inappropriate attire.‘
The principal at the time, Denise Morgan, didn’t listen to her complaints either, Ms Reel said.
According to the Mississippi native, when she told Ms Morgan about the inappropriate behavior from her students, Ms Morgan responded: ‘And how does that threaten you?’
Ms Reel told the Daily News that the time spent at the high school was dreadful. ‘I wasted six years of my life being treated like dirt – less than dirt.’
She said she’s elated that this settlement allowed her to quit her job, which she started in 2005.
Ms Reed said the things her students told her were horrendous. One allegedly said: ‘I’ve got rubbers – want to party?’
The constant barrage of attacks from her students made her depressed, she said, and at one point she contemplated suicide.
In reviews on greatschools.org, School for Legal studies, which has around 750 students, was given a possible 2/10, based on state test results.
One former student wrote: ‘As a legal studies student for three years, I find that the school is a non-education experience. It is horrible student and teacher wise.’
Another wrote that they transferred out after freshman year because they didn’t learn anything.
And according to performance trends, the math and reading scores for the school’s students are well below the 50th percentile.
The student ratio has gradually crept up while the number of full-time teachers has gone down in recent years.
City officials declined comment on the case.