BISD teacher alleges retaliation after questioning why students ranked exemplary unable to read at grade level

David Yates Jun. 6, 2013, 1:42pm

Seeking to end the alleged violations of her constitutional rights, Dr. Velina Johnson has filed suit against the Beaumont Independent School District and Superintendent Timothy Chargois.

In her suit, filed May 31 in Jefferson County District Court, Johnson alleges BISD officials began retaliating against her after questioning why students stamped with an exemplary rating had trouble reading at their grade level. 

According to her petition, Johnson, 56, is highly educated with a doctorate degree and experience serving as a principal in a state charter school. She began the 2009-2010 school year as teacher at French Elementary School.

“During her service, plaintiff observed that although the school was ranked ‘Exemplary’, that many of the students with whom she dealt were unable to effectively read on grade level,” the suit states.

Johnson reported her observation to a fellow teacher, who in turned informed the principal.

The following school year, Johnson was transferred to Bingman-Blanchette Elementary and a non-certified teacher took her place, the suit states.

Later that same year, her supervisors sought to transfer her again. Johnson informed her supervisors that two transfers in a single school year is a violation of the Texas Education Agency’s rules and BISD guidelines. She also questioned why an uncertified teacher had been placed in her former position, according to the lawsuit.

“Members of the Committee disputed plaintiff’s contention and claim, but eventually conceded plaintiff was accurate after they did ‘their homework,’” the suit states.

“Plaintiff has since, for mixed illegal reasons, been subjected to systematic and repeated retaliation.”

She is asking that BISD be enjoined from violating her constitutional rights and that she receive an award for attorney’s fees and court costs.

Missouri City attorney Larry Watts represents her.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. E194-400

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