A former teacher who claimed her principal told her to "put her big girl panties on and deal with it" after she asked that a student who allegedly assaulted her be removed from her class won a big settlement from a New Jersey school district.
Michele Andrews, formerly of Bridgeton Public Schools, received $197,500 after she alleged the school board did not address her concerns after she was injured in multiple altercations on the job, NJ.com reported.
Her lawsuit — filed two years ago — also alleged that she lost her job after filing a formal complaint about the incidents with her superiors, the outlet said.
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According to court documents, the first incident occurred in January 2015 when she was injured after being assaulted by one of the students in her classroom. After Andrews decided to file assault charges against the student, she asked a principal to remove the student from her class and was allegedly told by the principal to "put her big girl panties on and deal with it."
The lawsuit also states that two months after Andrews was assaulted, she was hit in the face while attempting to break up a fight between two students. Although the two students were suspended for fighting, they were not charged with assault.
In an incident that was recorded by video surveillance cameras in May 2015, Andrews was allegedly "body checked" by a student, which injured Andrews' neck and caused her to miss time from work, she claims. The student who allegedly injured her was not disciplined for hitting Andrews, even after Andrews asked the administration to document the incidents that occurred, something in which the lawsuit says is required by law.
When Andrews returned to work, she wrote a letter to district officials — including the superintendent — saying her supervisors were "retaliating against her" and that the school was not documenting the incidents involving her, the outlet said.
At first the school board indicated in May 2015 that it would renew Andrews' contract, NJ.com said, citing the complaint. But she alleged that after she sent her letter to district officials, the principal told Andrews that her contract renewal was rescinded, the outlet said.
The Bridgeton School District did not immediately return a request for comment, NJ.com said.