A judge has ruled the discriminated against a former teacher when they failed to accommodate her mental disability and failed to administer proper testing to ensure she was fit to fill her assigned third grade teaching position within the district prior to terminating her employment, according to a New Haven Register report.
The then-tenured teacher, Marci Festa, was fired by the Board of Education in May 2011. The termination followed an impartial hearing panel's ruling she had abandoned her post and was insubordinate after failing to show up for her third grade teaching assignment at the East Haven Academy at the start of the 2010-11 school year, according to New Haven Superior Court Judge Thomas Corradino's "Memorandum of Decision."
In her appeal of the termination, however, Festa countered that district disregarded her mental disability — related to a traumatic brain injury suffered in 2006 — and also failed to order the proper testing needed to ensure she was fully capable of teaching students at the third grade level, as opposed to the kindergarten post she had requested.
The district must now prove Festa was fit at that time to teach third grade, or pass along full back pay and benefits, the former teacher's lawyer told The Register.
The Register's Jennifer Swift noted that Superintendent of Schools Anthony Serio and the school district's lawyer did not return comment requests for her article.
A PDF document of the judge's memorandum of decision is attached to this article.