The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

October 4, 2013

Fears files suit against Pike County School Board

EVANSVILLE — Former Otwell Principal Rick Fears has filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Pike County School Corporation.

The suit, filed Tuesday in Evansville, alleges wrongful termination by the board alleging wrongful termination, breach of contract and employment discrimination.

Fears was fired by the board on Sept. 3 after being placed on administrative leave on July 17, weeks before school was to begin.

The complaint said Fears had been "singled out and treated differently" than other employees of the school corporation because he spoke out concerning "the functionality of the board's plans." The complaint did not specify what that speech was, but said there will be evidence and witnesses to prove that claim.

"The plaintiff was held in a different standard that other teachers in the employ of the defendant, Pike County School Corporation, and was subjected to discipline for acts that were tolerated and/or accepted in other employees," the complaint read.

In the findings of fact statement released by the board in September, Fears was fired for allegedly not performing teacher evaluations, falsifying attendance records, insubordination and violating the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act. The suit counters the board's findings, saying the board found insufficient grounds for the cancellation of his contract "based on insubordination.

The suit also alleges the school corporation breached Fears' contract. A copy of the contract was included.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the board and also asks for a restraining order against the board from enforcing Fears' termination.

While principal at Otwell Elementary, Fears led one of the highest-performing schools in the state, according to ISTEP scores. The school has earned honors from the state and in 2011, was named a national Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. In the latest set of test scores from the 2013 ISTEP tests, all of Otwell's students in grades three through five passed the math portion of the test and all but two students passed the language arts portion.

Jim Issacs was named interim principal in place of Fears and started the year. The school corporation has 30 days respond to the complaint. Pike County Superintendent Suzanne Blake was out of the office. Mark Phillips, Fears' attorney, was also unavailable for comment.

The suit was first reported in The (Jasper) Herald.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Band01 Golden Pride put pieces together for new show For the 30-plus members of the Washington High School Golden Pride marching band, the past two weeks have been long and full of work. After one week of exclusively working on music the band hit the field and began putting together the marching pieces

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hoosier Democrats call for campaign funding limits Indiana Democrat candidates and party leaders brought their "we can do better" government campaign tour to Bloomington. The Democrats called for a lot of changes. One of those on hand was District 39 Senate candidate Steve Lindsey who called for more

    July 31, 2014

  • Kruchten moved to Knox County A Daviess County jail inmate facing murder charges has been temporarily moved to Knox County. Reports that Donal Kruchten, who was arrested in April in connection with the murder of Devan Burris, was moved to the Knox County Jail for his own safety a

    July 31, 2014

  • Dailae abd Vincdnt.jpg Dailey and Vincent return to SJG ODON — Lovers of bluegrass music will have a chance to see the award winning bluegrass duo of Dailey and Vincent perform at the Simon J. Graber Community Building Saturday. Tickets for the event are only available at the door at are $15 for adults, $

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts get to take a break ANDERSON — There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two. With the Colts set to have Tuesday as an already scheduled day off, head coach Chuck Pagano combined the

    July 31, 2014

  • Washington City Council hears 2015 budget proposals Mayor Joe Wellman and the members of the Washington City Council met with city department heads Wednesday evening to hear the proposed budgets for 2015. Wellman said he had proposed pay increases for both hourly and salary employees. Those increases

    July 30, 2014

  • Barr-Reeve responds to teachers' complaint MONTGOMERY — The Barr-Reeve Community School Corporation has responded to the unfair labor practice complaint filed by the Barr-Reeve Classroom Teachers Association against the corporation. Earlier this month, the CTA filed the complaint with Indiana

    July 30, 2014

  • Sandra Hotz Sandra M. Hotz, 66, of Washington, died at 7:20 a.m. Tuesday at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. The body of Sandra Hotz was cremated and there will be no services. Burial will be at a later date. Arrangements are being made through Brocksmith-Blake

    July 30, 2014

  • Fears' suit against Pike school board dismissed

    EVANSVILLE — A federal judge threw out former Otwell Elementary Principal Rick Fears' suit against the Pike County School Corporation on Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014

  • Today's police report CITY REPORT Wednesday 10:52 a.m. - An employee of Chuckle's, 201, N.E. Fifth St., reported a drive-off worth $20.01 in gas. 6:32 a.m. - Erika Prinus said a stop sign was spray painted black at CRs 800E and 100S. County highway was notified. Tuesday 6

    July 30, 2014