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Former dean on LI gets $5M settlement

May 7, 2009 2:49:47 PM PDT
A former school dean on Long Island has received a $5 million settlement after she says she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment."The building was put on what is called lockdown mode," Cheryl Farb said. "I was treated like a criminal. The classroom doors were locked. The children were not allowed to leave their classroom until I was exited permanently from the building"

It started back in October of 2003, when Farb complained that principal James Brown sexually harassed her. And she says the harassment only got worse. Then, seven months later, the district fired her.

Farb says a derogatory comment about a student finally pushed her over the edge, and she filed a lawsuit against the school district.

In the complaint Farb says Brown made a comment about a female student's pants being tight and then said something vulgar about the eighth-grade girl's genitalia.

"The bottom line is after the complaint, the principal went after her," attorney Rick Ostrove said. "He went after her hard, and he tortured her."

A jury believed Farb and awarded her $5 million.

The jury found she was fired because of retaliation, but it didn't find enough evidence that she was sexually harassed.

The school district put out a statement this afternoon, saying, "Since the litigation is ongoing, and the case is not final, the district cannot legally provide any further information."

Some parents worry about where the money for a $5 million payout will come from.

"Everything is lawsuit, lawsuit, lawsuit," one parent said. "I think we gotta get past that."

Principal Brown is still employed at Baldwin Middle School. He could not be reached for comment.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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