September 23rd, 2012
10:42 PM ET

NYC settles with teacher who claimed students harassed her

From Sonia Kennebeck, for CNN

New York (CNN) - A former teacher at a Brooklyn high school who claimed she was sexually harassed and verbally assaulted by her students has agreed to a $450,000 settlement from the city of New York, her attorney and school officials told CNN.

As part of the settlement, Theresa Reel, 52, resigned from the School for Legal Studies in Brooklyn in exchange for having poor ratings on her employment record cleared, her attorney said.

The settlement was reached ahead of a trial that was scheduled to begin earlier this month.

"I think we had a very strong case," said attorney Joshua Parkhurst, "but this way my client can go on with her life."

Reel told CNN she was subjected to continuous verbal assaults and sexual harassment by students, who she claimed touched her breasts and wrote insults against her on a desk, shortly after she began working at the school in 2005.

The educator said she reported the students' behavior to the school multiple times, but the principal's response was worse than inadequate.

"I was told I wanted to make the school look bad, I was called a troublemaker," she said. "That was the worst for me: that my employer reacted this way. I felt so worthless."

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  1. Medicated

    What a horrible thing this woman had to go through. One has to wonder if her "poor job performance" was related to being s.e.x.ually harassed n ignored. How can a person work well in that environment? I'm glad she got some kind of compensation. People have received much bigger settlements for lesser offences against them. The important thing to me, however, would be to find some of those former students n bring them to some justice. Schools settle these kinds of cases so they don't have to be on their public record so that when the next person makes a complaint, their lawyer can't claim there's a trend there for which the school has not been held accountable.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:18 am |