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
  • Wednesday's police report CITY REPORT Tuesday 1:41 p.m. - An employee of Chuckle's, 201 N.E. Fifth St., reported a drive-off worth $10 in gas by a driver in a white Ford Ranger truck. 10:51 a.m. - Jordan Taylor reported an MP3 player stolen from his car while parked at 100 Ch

    April 16, 2014

  • SwearinPolice New police officer, fireman sworn in at meeting During a swearing in ceremony Monday evening prior to the start of the Washington City Council meeting Mayor Joe Wellman welcomed Steve Ford to the fire department and Nicholas Durnil to the police department. Ford, 23, is a native of Covington, Ind

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Moose.jpg Moose gets visit from Supreme Governor Last week local members of the Moose were treated to a special visit by Moose International Chief Presiding Officer, Supreme Governor Joseph R. Koons at Moose Family Center 1080. "This was a rare opportunity for the community to meet with Supreme G

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Daviess County hires help for human resource issues The Daviess County Commissioners have approved several contracts including one to bring some professional expertise to human resource issues. The commissioners agreed to a contract with the consulting firm Waggoner, Irwin, Scheele and Associates to p

    April 16, 2014

  • Council to hire 2 part-time employees LOOGOOTEE - The Loogootee City Council agreed Monday night to hire two part-time employees for the Public Works Department. One employee, who would earn $10 per hour, would work for 15 weeks, beginning May 5. Public Works Superintendent Bo Wilson sai

    April 16, 2014

  • Area Briefs Good Friday Closings The following are area closings for Good Friday: PACE Community Action Agency will be closed. City of Washington offices will be closed. There will be no trash pickup, and the city bus will not run. Residents with trash pick up o

    April 16, 2014

  • eastercapture.JPG The Easter Story

    A special section published by the Washington Times Herald celebrating Easter with local church services.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 5K fun run at Crane The first annual "Running for our Future" 5K walk/run is scheduled for May 17 at the WestGate@Crane Technology Park. The race is a perfect opportunity to visit the technology park, see the WestGate Academy Conferencing and Training Center, and networ

    April 15, 2014

  • SPT-WT-041514-KNEPP HITTING PIC Vikings drop two games at Barr-Reeve Tournament MONTGOMERY -- The Barr-Reeve girls softball team lost two games Saturday in the Barr-Reeve Tournament with a 4-2 loss in the first game to Clay City and in the final game of the day the Vikings lost to 6-1 to North Posey. The Vikings got a run in the

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Tuesday's police report CITY REPORT Monday 9:57 a.m. - An employee of Family Dollar, 305 E. Nat'l Hwy., reported a female shoplifter. The female left the store before officers could arrive. 1:53 a.m. - Tonya Glenn, 825 Greenwood St., reported a breaking-and-entering. A cell

    April 15, 2014