PROSPER (CBSDFW.COM) – Former Prosper ISD High School teacher Maribeth Thomas is accusing the district of bullying and intimidating her.
Thomas says her troubles began in March when a female student told her that another teacher touched her inappropriately.
So Thomas says she called Prosper Police to report it.
“I just wanted to do the right thing.”
But Thomas says she didn’t feel that way for long.
Her attorney Victoria Neave says shortly after calling police, five administrators called Thomas into a meeting.
Neave says, “They bullied her, they intimidated her, and they threatened her for doing the right thing in following the law because they wanted to keep their report in-house, keep it internally, and sweep it under the rug.”
She says administrators told Thomas she should not have called the city police department, as required by district policy.
Instead, Neave says administrators told Thomas she should have told them first about what happened or called Prosper ISD’s own police department.
Neave says one administrator told Thomas “he was severely pissed off” and that he was pounding on a desk.
Neave said the administrators were concerned the media would find out.
Thomas has since left the school district and has filed a grievance. She and her attorneys are considering filing a lawsuit against the district.
Assistant superintendent Michael Goddard acknowledges the tone of the meeting between Thomas and administrators was uncomfortable.
Goddard says the student in question and her mother are livid, and claim Thomas was inaccuarate, but he wouldn’t say how.
Thomas says, “I feel like I was reprimanded and was told I was not doing the right thing.”
Goddard denies Thomas was reprimanded, and that she received poor performance reviews after reporting the incident. Goddard calls Thomas’ allegations a classic case of extortion. He points to a letter Thomas’ attorneys sent in May to Prosper ISD, saying “Mrs. Thomas is willing to settle her claims.. for.. $400,000.”
In a response letter in June, the school district declined the demand.
However, the district acknowledged Mrs. Thomas wasn’t required to follow the reporting process described by Prosper ISD administrators during their meeting with her.
The district also agreed to address revisions to Prosper ISD policy and also offered Thomas an apology.
District records show on Wednesday, Thomas’ attorneys told the district they would “…amicably settle for $250,000…”
Neave says the district violated the Texas Whistleblower Acr and the Texas Family Code, both of which carry potential civil penalties.
Thomas says, “I’ve had lots of family and friends support. Emotionally, it’s been draining, not only on me, but my family. This has been a really tough six months.”
On Monday evening, the Prosper ISD school board is scheduled to discuss Thomas’ case.
She says she wanted an open and public hearing, but has since heard the board will discuss it behind closed doors.
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