Disabled man sues Dickinson school district over alleged discrimination

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 9, 2011, 8:17am

GALVESTON � A Dickinson man claims he was terminated from his position as groundskeeper with the Dickinson Independent School District because of his mental disability, recent court documents say.

Kenneth A. Horne alleges his supervisors Dave Grace and Jimmy Anderson subjected him to disability-related harassment and withheld reasonable accommodations before firing him in late 2006, a lawsuit filed Jan. 31 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas explains.

The plaintiff worked for DISD for 10 years prior to the his termination. His initial supervisor assigned him to laundry and other small duties.

"Though developmentally challenged, Horne was also known to be a hard worker who 'did whatever you asked of him,'" the original petition says.

The suit points out that Horne "worked best when he was given specific work instructions and repeated the instructions given to him."

Grace and Anderson, however, were not tolerant and understanding of the plaintiff's condition, the plaintiff alleges.

According to the complaint: "(He) was often denigrated by his immediate supervisors and fellow peers including but not limited to being referred to as 'stupid boy,' 'stupid kid' and 'Forrest Gump.'"

It adds Grace and Anderson assigned Horne duties that were not essential to his job such as driving. He was even written up on several occasions, the suit says.

The defendant eventually terminated Horne for underperformance.

"After discharging Horne, he was instructed not to tell anyone he was terminated," the suit says.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorneys Katrina Patrick and Marjorie A. Murphy of Houston are representing Horne, and U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:11-cv-00063

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