An elementary school teacher who won a $60,000 settlement from the San Francisco Unified School District in 2006 after suing for employment discrimination took the district to federal court last week, alleging that school officials are retaliating for the lawsuit.
In court documents, Margaret Reyes, a second-grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in the Excelsior district, alleged that she had been baselessly accused of various misdeeds, including allowing a student outside without a jacket and mishandling paperwork. She said she also was placed under disciplinary review.
Reyes alleged the harassment was based on her gender, age and religion, as well as the lawsuit that she had filed in San Francisco Superior Court after a principal, Allen A. Lee, made a comment about her religion.
“There was a budget crunch,” said Reyes’ lawyer, Richard M. Rogers. “People were getting pink slips. She’s Catholic, and he made the comment that she should get a job at a Catholic school to open a spot for someone else.”
Rogers said that while he could not discuss the terms of the $60,000 settlement because of a confidentiality clause, the district had not lived up to its side of the bargain.
In the new lawsuit, Reyes alleged that the district did not make repairs to her classroom’s ceiling and denied her bathroom breaks on rainy days.
“For three consecutive years, large ceiling panels have caved in on my classroom during rain and roof leaks,” Reyes said in a complaint filed with the court.
Reyes said that the principal, Richard Zapien, acted “aggressive” and “taunting” toward her and ignored her concerns after an emotionally disturbed student was transferred to her room in 2008.
“When the child became violent with my students and myself and held us hostage, Mr. Zapien refused to respond,” Reyes alleged.
“They just continued to harass her,” Rogers said.
District officials did not immediately respond to a message.