LODI, Calif. – Is this what we’ve come to honor as heroic? Because a vice principal was allegedly pushed by a teacher and she called the police department to file a citizen’s arrest, she’s compared to Rosa Parks? She’s now suing the school district, citing among other things “hurt feelings”.
A former Lodi Middle School vice principal who ordered a citizen’s arrest against a physical education teacher for allegedly shoving her in 2011 has filed suit against the Lodi Unified School District, claiming she was forced to resign and has suffered “extreme and severe emotional distress.”
An attorney representing Lurdes Rosales filed the complaint in San Joaquin County Superior Court in December, roughly one year after the former vice principal reported teacher Jon Lapachet pushed her after the two had a verbal altercation during a physical education course on Dec. 19, 2011. Rosales called police one day later to have him arrested.
Former Lodi Middle School Principal Patricia Lingerfelt, who has also left the district, compared Rosales to civil rights leader Rosa Parks, who famously refused to move to the back of a public bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.
Lodi Unified has filed a motion of demurrer – a legal process that argues Rosales’ case does not have merit. The district also has filed a motion to strike the case.
The 2011 incident was investigated by police and the district, and drew high criticism from the Lodi Unified teachers union as a breach of protocol in how an administrator should handle such an altercation.
Lodi Unified’s teachers union banded together publicly in support of Lapachet and asked the district’s Board of Trustees for a change in administration, saying that Lodi Middle School had a deteriorated relationship between teachers and the principal’s office.
The District Attorney’s Office ultimately dropped all charges against Lapachet.
The complaint filed in court by Rosales claims the former vice principal was forced to resign as a retaliatory measure for her standing up to Lapachet, whom she describes as a foot taller than she is, and that after the incident she was falsely characterized as a bully. She also accuses the teachers union asking for her “head on a platter.”
She is seeking monetary damages for past, present and future wages and benefits. She also says she has suffered emotional distress, loss of her job, loss of reputation, shame, mortification and hurt feelings.
Can’t we do better?