A former fifth-grade multimedia teacher filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Allentown, Pennsylvania, claiming that school officials disregarded her learning disability when they terminated her for not obtaining her state teaching certification.
Michele Vulcano Hall was hired in 2008 and told she had two to three years to obtain her teaching certification. In April 2009, the human resources director told Hall she had until the end of the school year to obtain the certification. In August 2009, the district’s school board, of which Hall’s father, Paul Vulcano, Jr., is a director, voted unanimously not to retain Hall because she was teaching with an emergency certification. According to news reports, one-year emergency certifications may be granted by the state if the applicant is actively working toward full certification. Hall had been working for nearly 2 years under an emergency certification.
Hall’s eight-count federal lawsuit claims the district did not accommodate her learning disability and seeks to have her reinstated, with back wages, front pay, lost health benefits, lost pension contributions, lost future earning capacity, as well as damages for emotional distress suffered by the alleged discrimination. No mention is made of the manner of her disability. Hall further claims in the lawsuit that the superintendent and the human resources director orchestrated her termination to quell her “vociferous” father and “chill [his] legitimate political expression,” singling her out for “retaliation, harassment and a hostile work environment.”
When his daughter was replaced by the school board in 2009, Hall’s father said there were no hard feelings between him and the district.
—Source: The Morning Call (Allentown, PA)