While Northampton may have an issue with teacher retention and having enough experienced educators in the classroom, across the Bay, older, more experienced teachers may be facing other hurdles.
Two Virginia Beach teachers have filed lawsuits in the Eastern District Court of Virginia alleging age discrimination. Margaret Marcotte and Joseph Andreana filed a complaint that they were not hired for a technology positions due to age, according to the complaints.
Marcotte, in her late forties, has worked for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools for 20 years, and has 19 years of experience working in technology-centered roles, the complaint states.
Policy 5-7 for the Virginia Beach School system addresses discrimination, “It is the Policy of the School Board to prohibit any and all discrimination, harassment and bullying based on an individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, genetic information or veteran status.”
In the summer of 2015, the Virginia Beach School Board downsized the CRS department from 104 to 84 positions. Employees had to reapply for ITS positions.
Court documents show that some employees with only a year of CRS department experience were rehired, Marcotte was not.
She has since reapplied for an ITS position in 2016 and 2017, and has been rejected, the complaint alleges.
Marcotte was “forced” to take a lower-paying job as a classroom teacher. She said that she and other older and “more experienced” CRS employees were “systematically rejected” by the VBCPS for ITS jobs, the complaint alleges.
Marcotte is looking receive back pay, attorney’s fees, and benefits.
The VB school system has asked a federal judge to dismiss Joseph Andreana’s claims. Another teacher, Marie Gerdes, joined Andreana’s lawsuit as a plaintiff and a judge has granted an extension to file a rebuttal to the school board’s request for dismissal.
The Virginia Beach claims follow a compliant from a longtime Portsmouth teacher who has filed an age-discrimination lawsuit against the division, claiming he has been repeatedly passed over for promotions to leadership roles that went to younger, less qualified colleagues.
In a suit filed in January of 2017 in U.S. District Court, Russell A. Drewrey, 61, claims he was discriminated against by the division and School Board, which he says violated federal anti-discrimination laws in failing to promote him to more senior positions.