The parents of a Pittston Area middle school student have filed a federal lawsuit against the district and its superintendent, claiming a teacher with prior disciplinary issues bullied the boy in September 2012.
Kelli Diaz, the middle school teacher under fire, accused the child of having the neuropsychiatric disorder Tourette Syndrome and then "verbally accosted" him, according to the suit filed.
In a confrontation with the boy, Diaz told him "It's day 13 and I can't stand you already" and warned him, "You're going to have the worst year ever. I'm not the only teacher who can't stand you," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit, filed by Pittston-based attorney Cynthia Pollick, claims the district retaliated against the victim's parents after they made the allegations, forcing the child to be home-schooled for five months.
District officials never updated the parents on the status of the investigation and never disclosed the "secret" settlement the district reached with Diaz, the suit says.
In addition to seeking monetary damages, the suit demands public disclosure of the "secret settlement agreement" with Diaz and for the child to be allowed back to school without having interaction with Diaz.
According to the 'Caught on Tape' link, although it does not show the verbal thrashing, their video article claims that the demeaning comments were caught on tape.
The lines on how a teacher can speak to a student in an educational setting may not be perfectly clear but accusing or belittling a student with a psychiatric, psychological, or otherwise 'abnormal' biological chemistry or neurological disorder is not appropriate or constructive.
At the point it goes from simply inappropriate or non-constructive to bullying or terrifying for the student or parents is precisely when the teacher may need her own psychiatric evaluation and consideration of another career.
And when the school district retaliates against the parents (according to the article) for airing their concerns is when another hard look needs to be taken up that chain of command.
Kelli Diaz may have made a terrible mistake or a calculated intent at causing distress, I do not know. BUT when a 'secret' settlement is reached and the parents are unaware of what's going on, how can they feel safe in their school district that their taxpaying money is going toward?
When a kid is suspended for acting out there is no secrecy. So why when a teacher may or may not have been disciplined is there such secrecy?
The lawsuit claims the district should have known about Diaz's "prior misconduct," which included "run-ins with minor students in which she acted inappropriately."