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Paulsboro High settles suit with principal over searches

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in Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

Paulsboro High School has settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with its former principal, Lucia Pollino, who was suspended for six months with pay in April 2007 over allegations she let students be strip-searched.

The incident happened during a class trip to Walt Disney World, when two male teachers suspected four male students were using drugs and searched them.

Following complaints from a parent, the school board suspended Pollino for “failure to provide clear and unambiguous instructions as to the scope of the search,” said Frank Cambia, Paulsboro superintendent. The school district also cited Pollino for failing to notify parents before a student search, as required by district policy.

Pollino sued, saying she did not authorize a strip-search and noting the two teachers who conducted the searches were not disciplined. The district settled by reassigning her to a position as director of assessments at the same salary she earned as principal.

Final note: Ideally, someone in HR should review all discipline to make sure it is dealt out equally. Make comparative discipline part of your annual legal compliance audit. (You do regularly review all personnel actions for legality, don’t you?)

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