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Tool Demo in Class Leads to Teacher Being Suspended and Filing Lawsuit

Photo by nist6ss/Flickr

A tenured Chicago teacher is suing the school district of the city after a 2011 suspension stemming from a household tools lesson in class.  

According to the lawsuit, Doug Bartlett says as a part of a demonstration to his second-grade students at Washington Irving Elementary School, he brought a toolbox filled with “garden variety tools such as wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers” to his class as visual aids.

But, because a pocketknife was included in the displayed tools, none of which were made available for the class to touch, Bartlett was declared in violation of the school’s “no weapons” policy, and suspended without pay for four days.

The Rutherford Institute, who filed the lawsuit for Bartlett, the school’s “gross overreaction to a simple teaching demonstration…underscores exactly what is wrong with our nation’s schools,” and Bartlett “suffered humiliation, embarrassment, and mental suffering” as a result.

The suit is seeking lost wages, “nominal and compensatory damages,” and for Bartlett’s record to be expunged as well.

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