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Teacher Fired by Child Abuse Accusation

April 24, 2015 permalink

How do you fire an over-paid teacher protected by a union contract? Easy. Just make a child abuse accusation. That is how Boston Public Schools teacher Ketty Magnus is losing her job.



Teacher: Principal filed false abuse claim in push-out ploy

Ketty Magnus
COMPLAINT FILED: Ketty Magnus, a computer teacher and Haitian Creole interpreter at Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy, is suing Boston Public Schools.
Photo by: Matt Stone

A veteran Boston Public Schools teacher who has been in the excess pool of unwanted teachers since February has lodged an explosive discrimination complaint, saying her principal filed an unfounded child-abuse claim against her as part of an effort to push out high-earning veteran teachers.

“I’ve been a great teacher, never had any problem ... and you have one principal come who doesn’t like you and can turn your life around,” said Ketty Magnus, 56, who makes $92,000 and has been sidelined from her job as a computer teacher and Haitian Creole interpreter at the soon-to-be-closed Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy. “For 23 years, that’s all I’ve been doing, working with students, working with people in my community, Haitian kids. I feel like somebody took all of that away from me.”

The complaint, filed yesterday, claims the district “adopted a discriminatory employment policy regarding and targeting higher compensated African American teachers over forty (40) years of age, like me, for adverse employment actions which resulted in increased discipline, termination, reassignment and involuntary retirements.”

BPS has denied that high salaries or race are factored into which teachers are disciplined, evaluated negatively or reassigned.

Interim Superintendent John McDonough said in a statement, “We have not yet received a copy of the complaint from MCAD ... however, I do think it is important to note that our initiatives to attract, hire, develop and retain a diverse teaching force that is representative of our student body is a high priority for us and runs contrary to what we have heard about the claim thus far.”

Magnus’ complaints echo those of veteran teachers who told the Herald this month their reputations took a hit due to budget-motivated personnel changes.

Her lawyer, Warren Atlas, said, “My feeling is that when she comes out of the woodwork, she’s going to be a motivation for other people, too.”

Magnus also cites dissatisfaction with her union’s failure to file any grievances on her behalf. Boston Teachers Union president Richard Stutman did not respond to requests for comment.

Magnus said her trouble started after she complained about schedule changes that didn’t give her time to rest her degenerative joint disease. She states that a vice principal told one of her colleagues, “Any teacher (referring to me) who makes this much money should be able to” handle the workload.

Magnus says her principal filed a child abuse charge against her with the Department of Children and Families that was “false, discriminatorily motivated and unquestionably designed to destroy my reputation and promote my termination.” The report says an unruly student claimed Magnus scratched his arm while removing him from class. DCF deemed the charge unfounded, finding Magnus “scratched the child in an attempt to keep him safe,” and that her methods, while “inappropriate,” were not abuse.

Source: Boston Herald