A former Meridian Public School District teacher assistant has filed a lawsuit alleging she was fired after complaining about a teacher who abused students and took pills to “zone out” leaving the teaching up to the assistant.
Rachel Bourrage filed the lawsuit this month in Hinds County Circuit Court against the Meridian School District.
She alleges wrongful termination/retaliation and racial discrimination.
School District spokeswoman Elizabeth McDonald said Monday the district can’t comment on the case since it is pending litigation.
Bourrage’s attorney, Louis Watson Jr., said Hinds County Circuit Court is the proper venue for the lawsuit because of his client’s claim of race discrimination.
However, most such cases end up in federal court.
Bourrage is seeking reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damage, punitive damage, attorney fees and other costs and expenses.
She was hired in October 2008 as a teacher assistant at Parkview Elementary School, according to the lawsuit.
Bourrage cited two incidents where she reported alleged abuse of students by teachers.
She said that in September 2010, she reported a white teacher who was abusing mainly black students.
Bourrage said the teacher would hit the students, lock them in the hallway bathroom for nearly two hours at a time, make them stand in a corner for hours at a time, scream at children, forcefully grab them by their arm and cheeks, and poke them in the forehead often.
She said, on several occasions, the teacher would take pills from a prescription bottle and on some occasions, students would find pills on the floor and bring them to her.
Bourrage said after several months of trying to prevent the teacher from harming students, she was assigned to another teacher.
Bourrage said on Feb. 11, 2011, she was the one who was reprimanded, not the teacher.
Then, Bourrage said, she asked her daughter, a student at the same elementary school, whether she had ever been abused by a teacher there and her daughter informed her that a teacher had choked her on more than one occasion and that one teacher was verbally abusive.
Bourrage said she and her husband met with the school principal in an attempt to report the alleged abuse that her daughter said she had experienced.
She said the principal called the teacher who allegedly choked her daughter to the meeting and the teacher admitted to the allegations.
Bourrage said she then indicated she was planning to press charges and the principal became visibly upset and left the office.
On May 24, 2011, Bourrage said she was fired from her job for alleged “unprofessional behavior.”
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