Difficult Lessons

Free Difficult Lessons by Tammie Welch

Book: Difficult Lessons by Tammie Welch Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tammie Welch
a little calmer than when she first arrived. 
    Karen leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “Do they have anything else against you? Is there anything that might have come up in the past that they could use as an excuse to not renew your contract?”
    Sara thought for a minute. ”There is nothing. I have always had perfect evaluations. My students perform well on the state assessments. I have never had a complaint from a parent, at least not until now. The only thing that they have is the fact that Officer Griffin saw me in a gay bar and complained to Mr. Michaels.” Sara started to shake again. 
    Karen moved from behind her desk. She knelt in front of Sara and took her hand.  “Don’t get upset. After listening to you, I think that you have a definite case of discrimination here. I will need to look at your school’s non-discrimination statement, but I will bet it covers everything except sexual orientation. If you want me to represent you, I will be happy to do so. It isn’t going to be easy though. It will go public, and it will get ugly. The hard part is there are no state laws to protect you. We will basically have to use scare tactics and hope they bite. If they don’t and we go to court, it’s going to be an even longer road. We are looking at appeals and setting precedents to change state laws. Are you ready for that?”
    Sara thought for a minute, taking long slow breaths to calm down. “I think I am. I can’t let them get away with this, not just for me. I have to think about people in the future. Where do we start?”
    “We will start with a letter to Mr. Michaels and the school board members. I will explain to them that you feel there is no just cause for your non-renewal and that you also feel you are being discriminated against due to your suspected orientation. I will strongly encourage them to reconsider their position. I will explain to them also that we plan to take further action if they do not. If we have to take it that far, we will file a civil suit against them. Once you do that, you do realize that you probably will not have any hope of a job there, right?”
    Sara laughed nervously. “Evidently I don’t have one now so what do I have to lose?”
    “Let’s hope the letter does the trick and we do not have to take it that far. Even though we have no laws protecting us from discrimination, most people don’t want to take things like this public. The majority of my cases like this have been resolved without going to court. Unfortunately, that has not led us to any changes in the law, but it has worked out well for my clients. Most of them have walked away with monetary awards to keep things out of court.”
    “I am not interested in money. It is principle. I want my dignity. I want other people to be secure in the knowledge that they will not be fired for the people they choose to date or live with. My girlfriend will be a teacher there next year. I don’t want her hurt by them.”
    “All right. I will prepare the letter and get it out to them tomorrow. If anyone tries to discuss this with you, just refer him or her to me. Don’t discuss anything with anyone at the school. And get me copies of anything that shows you in a positive light; evaluations, letters from parents, articles from the newspaper, and anything else you can find. Get it to me as soon as you can. Whatever you do between now and the time this is settled, do not resign from your position. They cannot terminate you before the end of your contract. They have to pay you, but if you resign, your salary ends immediately. Understand?”
    “I had not thought about that. I understand.”
    Sara felt much better after meeting with Karen. She felt as though she might have a small chance at keeping her job and a good chance to make it better for others in the future. 
    Chapter 13
    “Ms. Carson, Are you trying to intimidate me?” Mr. Michaels walked into her classroom and closed the

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