EX-PRINCIPAL, TEACHER FILE $7M LAWSUIT AGAINST ARLINGTON SCHOOL OFFICIALS; February 9, 2010; Boston Globe (MA)
Two former employees of Arlington's middle school filed a $7 million lawsuit in federal court Monday alleging that school officials wrongfully terminated them based on suspicions they were having an affair.
In a 45-page civil complaint filed in US District Court, one-time Ottoson Middle School principal Stavroula Bouris and Charles E. Coughlin, a technology teacher, allege their civil rights were violated when they were fired in 2007 by then-Superintendent Nathan Levenson.
They say talk of an affair was untrue, a story drummed up in retaliation after Levenson made two failed attempts to oust Bouris months earlier…
The ongoing disputes dates to late January 2007, when Levenson informed Bouris her contract would not likely be renewed. A few weeks later, the suit says, Levenson then tried to unsuccessfully to “coerce” a resignation from Bouris, suggesting that she might be the subject of an untrue story about fondling a child if she did not agree to step down.
When she declined, Levenson announced that Bouris’ contract would not be renewed in March 2007, provoking strong public backlash. Bouris’ contract was renewed shortly thereafter.
According to the complaint, Levenson, acting on gossip overheard by Tracy Buck, a school technology department manager, monitored e-mails between the pair beginning in March 2007.
Levenson, and possibly Buck and others, then hacked into Bouris’ private e-mail account. In early June, Levenson ordered attorney Alan Miller of Stoneham, Chandler & Miller LLP to begin investigating Bouris and Coughlin to see if there was enough evidence to fire them for “inappropriate conduct,” the complaint alleges.
Levenson, who abruptly stepped down from his post in August 2008 amid Coughlin’s arbitration, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
He now runs District and Community Partners, a Boston-based education consulting firm…