County, Teacher Settle Civil Suit

BERLIN — A civil suit filed in 2009 by a former Ocean City Elementary School teacher against the Board of Education, the principal and vice principal, alleging a pattern of discrimination and retaliation that ultimately led to her termination, was formally dismissed this week after the parties reached an undisclosed settlement in the case.

In July 2009, former Ocean City Elementary School (OCES) teacher Lindsay Greenan filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Worcester County Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Jon Andes, OCES Principal Irene Kordick and Vice Principal Karen Marx, alleging racial discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, retaliation and other factors that led to her contract not being renewed for her third year of teaching at the West Ocean City school.

Throughout the 16-page complaint, Greenan outlined a pattern of discrimination and retaliation that allegedly began in 2007 for not heeding her principal’s alleged warning not to get pregnant during her first year at the school.

Nearly three years later, the case was dismissed this week after the parties reached an apparent settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Greenan’s attorney Robin Cockey this week acknowledged the suit had been dismissed, but said he was not at liberty to discuss the dismissal per a stipulation of the settlement agreement.

“The parties through counsel stipulate that the within matter, including all claims, cross-claims, counter claims and third party claims, whether asserted or not, is dismissed, with prejudice, each party to bear his, her or its own costs,” the stipulation of dismissal issued on Monday reads.

The formal complaint was filed in July 2009 after Greenan got a favorable report on a formal complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which reviewed Greenan’s complaint outlining the alleged pattern of discrimination and retaliation and rendered an opinion that provided the catalyst for the lawsuit.

”Ms. Greenan was denied contract renewal and a tenured teaching position by Worcester after a two-year probationary employment period,” the complaint read. “The adverse employment actions were taken in retaliation for Ms. Greenan failing to heed Ms. Kordick’s warning that Ms. Greenan not become pregnant during her first year of teaching at OCES. The pregnancy-related discrimination and retaliation was exacerbated by the fact that the father of Ms. Greenan’s child is African-American.”

After a number of legal maneuvers had already taken place, earlier this spring, the remaining defendants, the Board of Education, Kordick and Marx, sought a dismissal in the case, pointing out the decision not to offer Greenan a new contract had more to do with her classroom performance than her personal life.

“The defendants deny that she received consistently positive feedback from Kordick and other school administrators at the outset of her employment at OCES,” the motion to dismiss read. “While some feedback was positive, on many of her observations, the plaintiff was criticized for poor pedagogical skills, inadequate planning, less than satisfactory instructional delivery and such basic derelictions as failing to post students’ BCR’s and failing to give students sufficient time to complete assigned tasks.”

The defendants’ efforts to have the case dismissed suggested classroom performance, not personal issues, were at the heart of the dismissal.

“The defendants deny that after learning of the plaintiff’s pregnancy and engagement, defendants Kordick and Marx were ‘hyper-vigilant in scrutinizing her every move and writing her up whenever they perceived an infraction, even if they could not substantiate it,’” the motion read.