Gay Teacher To Get Cash In Bias Suit

Daniel Curcio

Daniel Curcio

NEW JERSEY – The Collingswood School District has reached an agreement with the gay high school teacher who filed a federal discrimination lawsuit after losing his job three years ago.
Daniel Curcio of Philadelphia will get $270,000 as part of the district’s offer of judgment, which he accepted on Monday. The figure includes attorney fees.
“The offer of judgment includes no admission of liability and the board did not concede liability,” said a statement released by attorney Lisa Grosskreutz of Parker McCay on behalf of the school board. “Without exception the board has treated, and continues to treat, all of its employees in a fair and egalitarian manner. The board does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law.”
Curcio, who is now a therapist, said he didn’t see it that way.
“I look at it as a total victory,” Curcio said.
His attorney, William Hildebrand, could not be reached for comment. In the lawsuit Curcio filed in October 2004, the Spanish teacher said he was reprimanded for telling his students in March 2002 he was gay.
Curio also said his colleagues called him a “troublemaker” and made jokes about his sexuality and the school district erased his Web page because it mentioned he is gay.
In November 2002, Curio said he began experiencing stress-related panic attacks and in January 2003, he took a paid leave of absence from his job.
“That’s all because of the fact that the harassment got so bad that I couldn’t take it anymore,” he added.
But the district did not allow Curio to return after his six-week leave unless he agreed to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination performed by a doctor of the school board’s choosing, according to the lawsuit.
Curio refused and in March 2003 the district did not renew his teaching contract.
Court records show Superintendent James Bathurst said he did not allow Curcio to return to work because he did not know if his disorder made him “dangerous to staff and students.”
In its statement, the school board denies having discriminated against Curcio and agreed to a judgment against the district only to avoid costly litigation.
from The Courier-Post

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