The Elizabeth School District has agreed to pay seven teachers $1.785 million for the sexual harassment they endured from a former principal.
The teachers claimed that Carlos Lucio, the principal of Dr. Antonia Pantoja School No. 27, tried to kiss them, sent them inappropriate text messages and pulled their hair from 2008 to 2015.
When the teachers refused Lucio’s advances, he visited their classrooms unannounced and watched them through their classroom windows in an intimidating manner. He even put them on improvement plans.
One of the teachers told the administration about the sexual harassment in 2015 and they launched an investigation. Unfortunately, the teachers said they experienced poor treatment while the investigation was still going on. School board personnel announced their names on loud speakers at the school and took photos of them walking in with investigators.
After the investigation, Lucio signed a “Last Chance Agreement,” in which he agreed to go to sensitivity training and to refrain from making “sexually inappropriate or gender-based comments similar to those complained of while at School 27.”
Lucio resigned from the district in June 2016 and received $8,202 for unused vacation time.
“We are hopeful that this resolution will lead to a change in the harassment and anti-discrimination policies in Elizabeth so as to ensure that this type of thing does not happen to other women in the future,” said the teachers’ lawyer Brian Schiller of the Schiller-McMahon Law firm.
The $1.785 million will be paid by the district’s insurance company, so no tax dollars will be paid in the settlement.