A lawsuit says that a special education teacher who was fired says she was fired because she spoke out about her classroom’s lack of staff and unqualified aides.
The Clara Barton Elementary School fired Bryanna Mostak on February 2, 2022. A lawsuit filed earlier this month says that in Mostak’s termination letter, Bordentown Regional Superintendent Trudy Atkins said that Mostak had shown a “pattern of disturbing behavior.”
Mostak had been fired two weeks before for acting “unprofessionally.” But the lawsuit says that Atkins praised Mostak three days before she was suspended for her “patience” and her “consistent and caring approach” in a report from January 18, 2022.
The special education teacher says that the school’s leaders quickly changed their minds because she kept asking for better staffing. Atkins told New Jersey 101.5 that the district does not talk about lawsuits that are still going on.
Understaffed Classroom, Underqualified Aides
According to the lawsuit, Mostak first complained about not having enough teachers in her classroom in September 2021, right before the new school year started.
She said that some of the seven students in the class had “aggressive or violent tendencies,” so the law required that there be five adults in the room. But, besides Mostak, there were only three adults in the class.
To make up for the lack of help, the class was given another aide. But the aide had to be trained, so she only worked for two of the four weeks. According to the lawsuit, the aide was replaced in November 2021 with someone who wasn’t qualified. This person had never worked with students with special needs and was seven months pregnant, so she couldn’t do the physical parts of the job.
In the complaint, it says that Mostak’s coworkers turned to mean after she told them about the situation. Mostak took medical leave in December 2021 because he was stressed out by what the lawsuit calls a hostile work environment.
When she got back to work, she talked to her boss, the principal, and the district superintendent several times about what had happened. The suit said that Mostak was suspended instead of being given help in the classroom. She soon lost her job.
The lawsuit wants Mostak to be put back on the job, to get back his lost wages, to pay for his attorney’s fees, and to pay him damages