News & Info
Ex-teacher claims she was fired for calling cops after student sexually assaulted her
A former Westchester County schoolteacher claims she was fired for calling the cops on a student who sexually assaulted her, according to a federal lawsuit.
Judy Sugar is suing the Greenburgh Eleven school district and Elton Thompson, the principal of Mary McLeod Bethune Junior and Senior High School in Dobbs Ferry, where she worked until her dismissal in 2015.
On May 14, 2015, she claims a student “accosted” her, touching her legs and backside with his exposed penis as she bent over a microscope, according to the complaint filed Thursday in US District Court in White Plains.
Sugar said she immediately reported the incident to Thompson but claims he did nothing.
She also said she had complained previously about the student but her concerns were ignored.
The head teacher at the school reportedly told Sugar that if she wanted to file a report, she could stop by Dobbs Ferry police headquarters on her way home instead of calling officers to the school.
But Sugar said she was worried about the safety of other students and of other teachers, particularly the recently hired “young, attractive” music instructor with whom the student was in class.
So she called the cops who said they would respond to the school immediately.
Upon hearing this, the complaint states, Thompson reportedly said, “You called the police?”
Almost immediately after that, Thompson allegedly told the teacher to leave school grounds and that insinuated job was in jeopardy.
Later that day, Sugar reported the assault to cops, who told her they had been turned away from the school earlier in the day.
The student was arrested the next day and an order of protection was issued barring him from having any contact with his former teacher.
Four days later, Sugar said she was summoned to the principal’s office and fired.
The school district claimed she’d violated their policy barring teachers from calling the police to report a crime on school grounds, but Sugar said she was unaware of any such policy.
The former teacher is asking for her job back, along with back pay, bonuses and benefits and for the school district to pay her legal fees.
Schools Superintendent Anthony Gyetua-Danquah said Tuesday that he was not made aware of any lawsuit and therefore could not comment.
Thompson could not be reached Tuesday.