What to Know
A teacher was fired from her Bronx charter school for reporting three students for sexual harassment, a new lawsuit alleges
The teacher worked at Bronx Lighthouse Charter School from August 2015 to March of this year, according to the suit
She was fired 'to punish her for... complaining about the condonation of the sexual harassment she endured,' the suit claims
A teacher was fired from her Bronx charter school for reporting three students for sexual harassment, a new lawsuit charges.
Marcia White started working at Bronx Lighthouse Charter School as a middle school social studies teacher in August 2015, according to a lawsuit filed in Bronx Supreme Court earlier this month.
In December 2016, White emailed the principal of the school about three seventh-grade boys who had been making inappropriate remarks to her, “including that they wanted to ‘run a train’ on [her], which was a reference to a sexual act,” the lawsuit says.
“...[O]ne of the students in particular repeatedly told White that he wanted to take her out on a date and perform sexual acts on her,” the suit claims.
But instead of addressing the 31-year-old teacher's concerns, the principal emailed her back and asked her to be “mindful” of what she included in emails, as the charter school network would be able to read them.
“We have to protect our students,” he wrote, adding that White should take to the assistant principal about the situation, according to the lawsuit.
After White talked to the assistant principal, the boys apologized, but one of them kept making inappropriate comments, the suit says.
“Ms. White you look mad good, let me take you out,” the student would say to her, according to the suit.
The student would also circle the teacher in the hallway “while looking [her] up and down and saying how good she looked in her clothes” and tell her "that he could not wait until her birthday to buy her ‘fashion nova jeans’ so he could ‘sit in class and stare at [her] walk around,’” the lawsuit claims.
The teacher kept complaining to the school about the student’s behavior, but the school didn’t do anything, according to the suit.
White found success at the school as a teacher — she was named “Teacher of the Year” in June 2017 — but the student’s continued harassment “had a devastating impact on [her], as she felt degraded and demeaned in the workplace,” the lawsuit says.
In an email this past February, White once again complained about the student’s behavior, and claimed Lighthouse was excusing sexual harassment, according to the suit. In March of this year, she was fired, the suit says.
The teacher wasn’t told why she was fired, but it was clearly “to punish her for asserting her human rights by complaining about the condonation of the sexual harassment she endured in her workplace,” the lawsuit claims.
The suit seeks a total of $15 million in damages, in addition to costs of suit and attorneys' fees.
News 4 New York reached out to the school about the allegations, but the school declined to comment.