Sue Goudreau, a fourth grade teacher, is suing her principal and other school officials after the principal ordered teachers to alter grades so no child received a failing grade.
Ms. Goudreau claims that principal Sholanda Shamlin “adamantly directed … teachers to assign a D to students who were not going to pass 4th grade and not to fail a student who has even the slightest chance of passing [the state test].”
Ms. Goudreau, the only National Board Certified Teacher at her elementary school, was nominated to be “teacher of the year.” When Ms. Goudreau disagreed with this policy at a teachers’ meeting, the principal told her “to shut up and not open her mouth again.”
Although Goudreau was forbidden from assigning failing grades and ordered to change grades to “passing,” she recorded her students’ actual grades in her grade book.
She claims that “illegal alteration of students’ grades misled the affected students and their parents into thinking they were passing and obtaining the required skills to proceed to fifth grade, when in reality those students were neither passing nor obtaining the requisite skills needed for the fifth grade.”
In May 2009, Ms. Goudreau filed a grievance against the principal for forcing teachers to illegally alter student grades. She was “seriously concerned and suffered from anxiety over falsifying her grade book at the direction” of the principal. Despite several memos that supported Ms. Goudreau, the superintendent found “insufficient evidence” that the principal ordered teachers to change their grades.
After filing the grievance, Ms. Goudreau suffered “constant fear of being written up for insubordination or other baseless reasons.” She developed cardiac problems from stress caused by harassment and retaliation.
Ms. Goudreau filed suit in federal court, and requested a jury trial. She is seeking punitive damages for reckless and deliberate indifference, and violations of state law and federal civil rights. She is represented by Craig Watson.
You can read the Complaint in Sheila Goudreau v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, Shilonda Shamlin, Individually and in her Official Capacity, Superintendent John Dilsworth in his Official Capacity, Charlotte Placide Individually and in her Official Capacity at http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/la.goudreau.livingston.pdf
Hat tip to Courthouse News: No F’s Allowed? Teacher Sues School