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Teacher Receives $388,000 in Whistleblower Claim Against School District

Pennie Davis, a longtime teacher for Jackson Public Schools in Michigan, won a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the district retaliated against her when she talked to police rather than letting school officials deal with her claims of being assaulted in a classroom.

The jury in the case awarded Pennie Davis $388,485 in damages from Jackson Public Schools. The district was given 30 days to appeal the decision.

In the lawsuit, Davis, a teacher at JPS since 1986, argued JPS violated the state’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act by unlawfully retaliating against her after she reported she was assaulted by a student at Jackson High School to the Jackson Police Department and Jackson Circuit Court. Davis obtained a restraining order against the student after the incident. She took these actions instead of letting the district handle the matter internally.

Case stems from on-the-job injury

The incident in question occurred in October 12, when Davis asked a disruptive student to leave her classroom. As she attempted to retrieve his artwork, he hit her hand away. She did not suffer a visible injury, but had her hand checked at an urgent care clinic and had X-rays taken. School officials asked Davis to remove the bandage to look at the injury the next day. She refused, as doctors had ordered her to keep it wrapped.

Davis claimed she felt threatened by the student and obtained a protection order that stated the student would not be allowed at her place of work. While the school removed the student from her class, Davis’s order prohibited the student from being in the same building entirely. Davis was transferred by the school to the Middle School to teach sixth grade art, which she believed to be a retaliatory act for how she handled the incident.

To learn more about the options available when you wish to file a whistleblower claim and the federal protections available to you, meet with an experienced Dallas lawyer at Kardell Law Group.

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