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Former Hope teacher sues district over claims of bias

Former Hope teacher sues district over claims of bias

November 22nd, 2017 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News

A former middle school reading teacher is suing the Hope, Ark., School District for alleged age and racial discrimination.

Mary Ann Lovell claims her employment as a teacher at Yerger Middle School in Hope, Ark., was terminated because of her age, 74, and that she was subject to different treatment than a white teacher in a similar position. Lovell filed the suit last week in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas with the help of Little Rock lawyer Sheila Campbell.

According to the complaint, Lovell had a contract to teach from Aug. 1, 2016, to May 26. Lovell was assigned to teach a new reading curriculum to middle school students which a white reading teacher was not required to teach, the complaint alleges.

"On Friday, May 26, 2017, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., Mr. Bobby Hart, superintendent of Hope Public School District, came to the plaintiff's classroom and told her she was no longer employed with the school district," the complaint states. "Mr. Bobby Hart yelled at the plaintiff stating, 'You are no longer employed by this school district. You are retired.'"

Lovell alleges other teachers weren't "overly managed" as she was and that administrators took steps to intimidate her, "when she was achieving better results than teachers outside the protected class."

Lovell is seeking compensation for back pay and benefits, restoration of her employment and $300,000 in damages for the discrimination she allegedly suffered. Lovell is asking that she be awarded "front pay" that she would have received until age 80, attorney fees and court costs as well as punitive damages.

The suit has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III. The school district has not filed a response to Lovell's complaint.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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