Former School Teacher because of 7th Grader's accusation?
I did not anticipate the degree of overwhelming depression I would experience from it and of myself as a professional (over 40 years as a white-collar professional in the workforce before teaching in the school district from May 2018. I continue to be emotionally affected with the decision and manner of it, by the District, as well as completely losing my love and trust to teach after 15 years of teaching.
What can I do regarding my affected emotional state? I am still always surprised by this incident.
3 attorney answers
You ask what to do about your emotional distress. There is no legal answer for that. You seek out treatment. That is about it.
As to whether this situation gives you any rights as an employee, the answer is no, unless you are in a union that gives you the right to grieve the termination decision. A school district must act first in the interests of the children. Therefore if there is a report of misconduct with a student of any sort, and there is no way to know if the report is right or not right, the student's story will always prevail and the employee has no legal right to stop that from happening.
If you could prove the student lied with witnesses, video, etc., you still could not require the school to give your job back, but you might have a defamation claim against the student. However, lawsuits against minors are rarely going to be worth it.
Good luck to you.
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Please consult an employment attorney about your rights immediately. Depression, pain and suffering are emotional distress damages that need to be evaluated in the context of a potential wrongful termination claim against the District. Another potential claim is seeking damages against the student who falsely accused you. (As a practical matter, if the student's family has no assets to collect against, then the viability of that claim may not matter.)
Sometimes life steers us in directions that we did not foresee or intend, and often it ends up being the best thing. Your best option now is to put one foot in front of the other and make the most out of the possible career options you have before you, while also seeking advice from an employment attorney to get compensation for past harm. I wish you luck.
Bergman APC is based in Los Angeles county and specializes in Estate and Disability Planning, Trust Administration and Litigation. This post does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any advice is preliminary and not based on a thorough analysis of the unique facts of your situation.
For your emotional state, see a therapist. This isn't a legal issue.
The time for a lawyer would have been when you were getting fired. You should have (a) spoken with your union representation, (b) requested an appeal hearing with the superintendent, (c) hired a lawyer, and (d) argued against being terminated because the evidence against you was so weak. If you didn't do all that, then you really don't have much to complain about now.
See a therapist and brush off your resume.
Be aware that this response does not create an attorney/client relationship. I live and work in Massachusetts and may or may not know the local laws where you live. I hope people find my responses not only helpful but somewhat entertaining as well. If you rely on this as legal advice, remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for."