The Fort Lee Board of Education is facing a lawsuit from a student's mom alleging her daughter was harassed by her high school chemistry teacher after correcting her lesson about sickle cell anemia, which she was diagnosed with.
The civil complaint last month in Hackensack Superior Court by Tyrene Gibson says Suzanne Keefe bullied student "AGT" (Gibson's daughter) and the district failed to investigate the complaints.
AGT transferred to Paramus Catholic High school where she is a rising senior.
Gibson told Daily Voice that the district violated her daughter's rights under New Jersey's Anti Bullying Bill of Rights act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the equal protection and due and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and the N.J. Constitution, and Civil Rights Act.
School district attorney Jeffrey L. Shanaberger declined to comment on the merits of the case when NJ.com reached out but said he plans to file a motion on Tuesday to dismiss the case, which on Monday was moved to federal court.
Fort Lee Schools Superintendent Kenneth Rota and Keefe both could not be reached for comment by NJ.com.
Last October, Keefe told AGT's class that women who are pregnant with kids who have sickle cell anemia either have abortions or miscarry, the complaint says. AGT raised her hand and, in front of the class, corrected Keefe, who in turn insisted she was correct -- "humiliating AGT," according to the suit.
That same day, Gibson met with the school principal and asked him to investigate and discipline Keefe, along with a meeting with Hackensack Meridian Health to educate faculty on sickle cell anemia and bone marrow transplants.
Immediately following that meeting, AGT was approached by Keefe, who questioned her and asked if the speakers were there because of what she said in class, the suit says.
The suit also says AGT was missing grades from the class, which her mom was discussing over emails with Keefe and the principal. Although she attempted to switch chemistry classes, she was eventually transferred to Paramus Catholic.
Gibson's suit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, legal fees and other relief deemed fit by the court.
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