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Suit alleges St. Andrew’s teacher punished for whistleblowing

Suit alleges St. Andrew’s teacher punished for whistleblowing

Palm Beach Post

The [whistleblower] lawsuit [by a former teacher against St. Andrew’s School] is the latest fallout from the revelation this summer that a former teacher engaged in sleepovers, intimate embraces and late-night excursions with boarding students in 2015. A private investigation commissioned by the school found that administrators failed to comply with a state law requiring that it report its concerns immediately to the state Department of Children and Families.

Scott Melton, a high school teacher at the Boca Raton Episcopal school, alleges in the suit that in April he complained to a supervisor about the school’s failure to report the other teacher’s behavior. The next day, he says, he was called into a meeting with a member of the school’s human resources department. In the meeting, he “again reiterated his concerns and told (the school) that it must report the allegations to DCF,” his lawsuit states. “Within an hour of that interrogation, (Melton) was involuntarily placed on leave without cause.”

Melton resigned from his position at the school on June 27, while still on his leave of absence.

“Since being put on administrative leave with pay, I have been contacted only once. Saint Andrew’s School has been negligent and derelict in duty to communicate my status for not only this year but also for the 2016-2017 school year,” his letter of resignation reads. “Therefore, due to the hostile work environment and lack of information I have experienced … I am forced to give my resignation … and seek employment elsewhere.”

SFGN obtained a copy of an email exchange between the school’s Human Resources department and a lawyer for the school. According to the exchange it appears the school debated whether to fire Melton or send him a letter of reprimand admonishing him for his cover up allegations and for accusing an administrator of being homophobic and racist.

The school’s lawyer gives her thoughts on the school’s chances of winning a lawsuit if they chose to fire Melton. “This means it is highly unlikely that the school would get summary judgment on a claim that Scott might assert for either discrimination, retaliation, or whistleblower activities. The case would either have to settle or go trial,” the email reads.

Melton contends that instead of making a decision, the school took no action at all, leaving him hanging.

Numerous current and former teachers at the school describe the work environment as retaliatory.

And there’s this, from a former teacher and counselor:

“[The administrator] has shown a pattern of behavior that is detrimental to the health and well-being of the students at St. Andrew’s School. She ignores legitimate concerns from trained mental health professionals, sweeps instances of sexual abuse under the rug, and is far more concerned with promoting her own career rather than watching out for the students under her care.”

The investigation into instances of sexual abuse begun in the Spring of 2016 divided the school board and parents. For more, follow the tag for St Andrew’s School.


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Pepper Marts

Bureaucracy’s chief sin is idolatry. Members of an institutional body are encouraged to idolize that body and put its welfare ahead of whatever the original purpose may have been. This assertion is equally descriptive of governments and their military services, of corporations, and of the Churches. The first victim of this institutional idolatry is always truth. The second is usually beauty.

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