Teacher Was Wrongly Fired, Appeals Court Rules
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 2, 2003
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA--The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Durham Technical Community College violated the North Carolina Persons with Disabilities Protection Act when it ended a teaching contract with Susan F. Johnson.
The appeals court also ordered the case to a lower court to decide what judgment would be made against the college.
Johnson, who taught reading skills to inmates at the county jail, claimed the school did not renew her contract because of her polio-related disabilities. Johnson fell and broke her back while trying to open a heavy jail door in 1994. Then she fell at home and broke a leg, after which she began using a wheelchair most of the time.
But school officials maintained that Johnson was fired because of anonymous telephone calls "questioning Johnsons integrity." Those calls included allegations that Johnson brought guns and drugs to inmates.
Johnson sued the college in 1998. The ruling Tuesday reverses a lower court's ruling.
"Justice has been served after six years," Johnsons lawyer, Stewart Fisher told the Durham Herald. "I am overjoyed."