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Whistleblower Suit Filed Against Ft. Worth Schools

Whistleblower Suit Filed Against Ft. Worth Schools

 

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Joseph Palazzolo, a former assistant principal at Arlington Heights schools in Ft. Worth, Texas, has filed a whistleblower suit against the school district. The suit alleges that Mr. Palazzolo suffered a retaliatory firing after coming forward about wrongdoings in the schools. Those wrong doings, according to the suit, included misuse of booster club funds, , disciplinary policies that were unfair to minority students, falsification of student attendance records and inappropriate sexual comments in the presence of students.

This comes after Fort Worth school district officials recently released the findings of its nearly five-month investigation at Arlington Heights that found inappropriate management, shoddy-record keeping, manipulation of student attendance records and racially motivated student discipline.

After the complaints by Mr. Palazzolo were filed, the school district transferred him to a post considered an “excess position” that paid less, and gave him a negative job evaluation, which put him at risk of losing his job if budgetary concerns arose. District officials have since corrected his evaluation, but not to Palazzolo’s satisfaction.

“I have told the truth and though it has cost me, I want my children to see that in life you have to stand for principle,” said Palazzolo in a recent statement. The suit goes further to say that the school districts actions are “classic whistleblower retaliation aimed at punishing the person who reported illegal wrongdoing in an attempt to intimidate him and other.”

In June Palazzolo took concerns about Arlington Heights to district officials. He was reassigned to Metro Opportunity School Later that month and then to the International Newcomer Academy after which he was reassigned to Western Hills High School later in the summer but then was abruptly placed on administrative leave due to a complaint filed against him.

The student who filed the complaint said Palazzolo grabbed her shoulder in an attempt to remove her from a homecoming dance. He has denied that happened.

Both Mr. Palazzolo and the school district allege further complaints that will be resolved with the suit. Some of Palazzolo’s allegations have been brought forward by an Arlington Heights instructor as well. While some corrections and resolutions have been attempted by the school district, which has yet to comment on the suit or the allegations, it is clear the systemic issues have not been addressed to date.

Sources:

http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/10/25/2575429/whistle-blower-lawsuit-filed-against.html

http://www.fwweekly.com/index.php?option=com_wordpress&p=6945&Itemid=248

http://www.fwweekly.com/index.php?option=com_wordpress&p=6957&Itemid=24

 
 
 

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