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Topic: Math instructor sues students
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,291
Registered: 12/3/04
Math instructor sues students
Posted: Aug 22, 2000 3:24 PM
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***************************************
By way of the Christian Science Monitor Electronic Edition, Tuesday,
August 22, 2000.
See http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/2000/08/22/f-p1s3.shtml [From
Athens Daily News, Savannah, GA]
See http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/091499/new_0914990013.shtml
***************************************

Savannah math instructor suing students

By Jenel Few
(Morris News Service)

SAVANNAH -- Some teachers stand students in the corner, others expel
them from class or take points off their overall grade. Theodore
Brown sues for $100 million. Brown, a Savannah Technical Institute
math instructor of 24 years, has filed separate civil suits in
Chatham County Superior Court against two students. They claim the
only thing they're guilty of is trying to get an education.

Brown says his career and reputation were damaged by the two --
Amanda Glover and Rechon Ross. He is seeking $100 million in punitive
damages and court costs from each of them.

Brown is representing himself. The students are being represented by
attorney Kathleen Horne.

She says her clients are neither rich nor classroom troublemakers.

''They're just women trying to do something with their lives,'' Horne said.

Glover was a student in Math 97 -- a remedial math class that Brown
taught this summer. His suit alleges she refused to purchase a
textbook and disrupted the learning process by borrowing books from
other students during class.

Brown claims she became verbally abusive to him on at least three
occasions and embarrassed him in front of the class. He also alleges
she filed complaints with his supervisors, which resulted in
disciplinary action that he declined to discuss.

Brown claims he suffered character defamation, humiliation in front
of students, faculty and staff, a blemished career record and mental
and emotional distress.

Ross took Brown's Math 101 class this summer. He says she also
defamed and embarrassed him, causing trouble with his supervisors and
damaging his career record and emotional well-being.

Ross is raising two children with sickle-cell anemia, a hereditary
disease that prevents the normal flow of oxygen-carrying blood
through the body and causes pain and damage to vital organs. She said
she didn't enroll in school to end up in court with her teacher.

''I was working two jobs and I went back to school to be able to do
better for my kids,'' Ross said. ''Then in my first semester I ended
up with this.''

Most people laugh at the thought of a teacher suing students after a
difficult day in class.

''Even the sheriff's deputy who served me with the paperwork was
laughing,'' Ross said.

But this isn't funny to the parties involved.

Ross said the case filed against her is absurd but she still finds it
difficult to walk Savannah

Tech's halls each day, wondering if her accuser is around the corner.
Horne is working to complete a response to the suits filed against
both students. Once filed, pretrial discovery and possible motions by
lawyers to dismiss or alter the cases will begin. If the judge does
not dismiss the case, a trial date will be scheduled.

Brown said he couldn't be more serious about the lawsuits and became
irritated when asked about the probability of his cases actually
making their way to trial. He insisted his claims have merit. But he
wouldn't discuss the blemishes on his career record, allegedly caused
by the students.

''I don't want to give my case away,'' he said.

But is a $100 million lawsuit a reasonable way to teach a student a
lesson about proper classroom conduct?

''This is America,'' Brown said. Savannah Tech rules prohibit
students from causing severe emotional distress or inflicting
physical or verbal abuse on others. According to the student code of
conduct:

''Any student, acting individually or in concert with others, who
violates any part of the student conduct code shall be subject to
disciplinary procedures, including dismissal from a class session by
the instructor and/or suspension or expulsion by the president or
designee.''

Institution rules also provide recourse for students who feel they
have been mistreated by a teacher. The grievance policy requires
students to file written complaints. An investigation is conducted
and administrators determine whether or not disciplinary action
should be taken.

Administrators with Savannah Tech could not be reached for comment.

Brown admitted the students probably aren't multimillionaires. But he
seemed to think that, if he wins, there is a real possibility he can
collect the millions of dollars he seeks -- some day.

''You heard about the man that only had $23 in his bank account the
morning he hit the lottery for $187 million,'' Brown said. ''You
never know what people have.''
*************************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu





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