NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A high school teacher has won a $450,000 settlement from New York City in a lawsuit that claimed she was repeatedly sexually harassed by students.
Theresa Reel, who was a teacher at Brooklyn’s School for Legal Studies, filed the lawsuit in 2009.
The 52-year-old claims she regularly endured lewd, vulgar and offensive remarks by students and sometimes faced threats and assaults.
In the lawsuit, Reel alleged that she was given unsatisfactory ratings by her bosses and punished by school officials for complaining .
“One time they said I wore an inappropriate top. I don’t know what they were talking about,” Reel said. “No principal said anything to me about what I was wearing was improper. I really suspect this was their way of saying we’re going to go after you in a ugly manner if you continue this.”
According to the lawsuit, a principal also implied Reel was making up the allegations or provoking the harassment.
The city agreed to pay the $450,000 settlement and to remove the poor ratings from Reel’s record if she resigned.
City officials said the settlement was in the city’s best interests.
Reel said she is glad the ordeal is over and hopes that changes will be made at schools to prevent similar situations from occurring.
“To feel complete I would want the DOE to start mandating some type of sexual harassment training for administrators to let them know how to handle these complaints,” Reel said. “I suspect right now they’re training consists of three little words, ‘Blame the teacher.’”
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)