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School Ordered To Pay Nearly Half A Million To Teachers Over Discrimination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 1, 2005

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS--Two former schoolteachers have been awarded a total of more than $450,000 for disability-related claims against Boston Public Schools, the Boston Globe reported Monday.

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ordered the district to pay more than $320,000, including payment for emotional distress and lost wages, to Diana Sabella, who teaches English as a second language.

Sabella, 55, experiences severe foot pain and cannot stand for more than 15 minutes. While working at Brighton High School, she was assigned to a part-time schedule in a classroom near an elevator, and was given an overhead projector so she would not have to stand at the blackboard. But when her job at that school was cut in 1996, Sabella was transferred to three other schools, where she struggled for part-time positions. In 2001, after the third school eliminated her part-time job, Sabella took a medical leave and did not return.

The panel also ordered the district to pay more than $130,000, including payment for emotional distress and reimbursement for sick leave, to Mary McTernan, 64, who uses a wheelchair and tires quickly because of the polio she contracted as a child. While working at an elementary school, McTernan's request for reasonable accommodations, such as rest breaks every 90 minutes, were denied. McTernan took a temporary leave, but returned to teach at a high school before finally retiring in 2001.

Both women accused district officials of discriminating against them to the point where they felt forced to leave their jobs.

The commission further ordered that the district pay $20,000 to the state for what it called ''egregious actions and repeated bad faith" in mishandling Sabella's and McTernan's cases.

"2 disabled teachers awarded $450k"(Boston Globe)


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