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Traxler v. Mifflin County School District

March 17, 2008

KARLA TRAXLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MIFFLIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

JUDGE SYLVIA H. RAMBO

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Karla Traxler, a teacher at Mifflin County School District, commenced this action against the school district pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"),*fn1 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant retaliated against her after she engaged in protected activity by speaking out on behalf of disabled and Spanish-speaking students. Before the court is Defendant's motion to dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The parties have briefed the issue, and the matter is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss will be denied in part and granted in part.

I. Background

A. Facts

Plaintiff, a teacher at Mifflin County School District, alleges that she was retaliated against after speaking out on behalf of disabled and Spanish-speaking students who were denied educational opportunities based on race, color, and national origin. According to Plaintiff, after she complained, Defendants gave her poor evaluations, docked her points, and prohibited from teaching in the classroom. Additionally Plaintiff maintains that she was ostracized by fellow employees, and that school officials have treated her with hostility.

B. Procedural History

1. Administrative History

Before filing the instant complaint, Plaintiff filed a number of charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC") alleging discrimination and retaliation. At issue here are two charges, one exhausted and the other still pending before the EEOC and the PHRC.

a. Charge No. 530-2007-00323*fn2

On October 2, 2007, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging that she was retaliated against by Defendant after complaining about violations of the ADA. (Doc. 17 Ex. A at 3). In the charge, Plaintiff states that in March 2006, after previous oral complaints, she wrote a letter to the school board alleging that children suffering from ADHD, autism, and Asperger Syndrome, as well as Spanish-speaking students, were not receiving a proper education or accommodations because Defendant failed to provide a classroom aid. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that after she spoke out, Defendants removed points from her employee rating, and prohibited her from teaching in the classroom again. (Id.) She also alleges that during a teacher workshop, a number of other teachers went out to lunch and did not invite Plaintiff. (Id. at 4.) After the lunch, Plaintiff states that she was informed that the kindergarten teacher at the school would not "welcome [her] with open arms." (Id.) Plaintiff's submission was assigned charge number 530-2007-00323, and it was dual-filed with the PHRC where it was assigned case number 200603519. (Id. Ex. A at 7.) After investigating this charge, the EEOC issued a "right to sue" letter on April 17, 2007. (Id. Ex. F.) On July 17, 2007, the PHRC closed the case administratively. (Id. Ex. I.)

b. Charge No. 530-2007-00408

On October 17, 2006, Plaintiff filed another charge of discrimination with the EEOC, which was docketed as Charge No. 530-2007-00408. (Doc. 17 Ex. B.) In this charge, Plaintiff alleged that after she filed previous charges of discrimination (including Charge No. 530-2007-00323),*fn3 she was retaliated against by Defendant. (Id.) In particular, Plaintiff alleges that in September 2006, she received a letter from Defendant accusing her of failure to follow protocol for taking time off for medical appointments. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that since she made her complaints, the principal at the school district has treated her in a hostile manner by glaring at her, not speaking to her, and ...


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