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Indian origin teacher takes US school to court

August 07, 2006 20:11 IST

An Indian-origin teacher in Connecticut, United States, has charged administrators at two schools for creating a work environment so hostile and racially discriminatory that she was forced to resign.

In a lawsuit filed in a US district court, 56 year old Samhita Das also charged three administrators at the Slade Middle School and New Britain High School with forcing her to accept working conditions inferior to those of other teachers. Details of the May 12 lawsuit were published in a media report on Monday.

Das, who immigrated to the US from Kolkata, worked in the district from September 2002 till February 2005, The Hartford Courant said. According to the lawsuit, administrators also refused to accommodate an injury and based a decision not to renew Das' contract on complaints from parents they knew to be racially motivated, the report said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages. It also wants the case to be heard by a jury.

The report details the 17-page ten count discrimination, which began when an administrator held Das responsible for a student fainting in class in June 2004. Das alleges that in several similar incidents at Slade Middle School, she was the only one held accountable. She also claims that despite breaking several toe bones in October 2004, administrators denied her request of teaching on one floor only and in February 2005, she was rated unsatisfactory by administrators when apparently no classroom visits had taken place.

According to the lawsuit, Das was forced to sign paperwork related to non-renewal of her contract under conditions she found 'extremely threatening.' When she resigned on February 27, 2005, citing health reasons, Das says she came to know that two or three minority parents had 'pressured' authorities to get rid of her - an action apparently taken 'on basis of race and ethnicity.'

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