BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — A classroom worker who was fired after filing a police report on students has been rehired by the Burlington School District.
An arbitrator ordered the rehiring of 58-year-old Neva Hoover, of Burlington. She'd been fired in December after complaining to police about student behavior in her classroom. She's a special education associate at Corse Elementary School.
Hoover filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in June. It said school officials didn't respond after she reported the children's behavior, so she filed the police report that prompted her dismissal.
Hoover also enlisted the aid of her union, which filed a grievance.
In her lawsuit, Hoover claimed she made complaints to supervisors about safety in her classroom, that staff members were encouraged to withhold information from parents and that students were allowed to assault each other and classroom staff.
The suit didn't name students or specify the alleged assaults.
Hoover worked for the district from Sept. 30, 2011, until her firing on Dec. 12, 2012. A district directory listed her as special education associate in kindergarten through second grade during the 2012-2013 school year.
Her attorney, Curtis Dial, said Tuesday that Hoover got back her job after she went to arbitration. The arbitrator also ordered the district to pay Hoover more than $9,600 in back pay and benefits.
“After she went to arbitration and got her job back, the lawsuit was basically over,” Dial said. “We asked for some additional things, and they (the school district) agreed to them. … At that point, we agreed to dismiss our lawsuit.”
Robert Engberg, a Burlington attorney who represented the school district, couldn't be reached to comment.
Dial said Hoover was pleased with the arbitrator's ruling.
“She is extremely happy to be back at work,” he said. “We got everything we asked for and more, including the interest (on fringe benefits) and her back wages and attorneys' fees.”
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