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Gay teacher’s boss used limp wrists to imitate a “flamer.” The school just settled the lawsuit.

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A lesbian teacher in Maine reached a settlement with her former school district over claims she was serially harassed and was the object of a vicious retaliation campaign by her supervisor.

According to a civil complaint filed by the teacher in U.S. District Court in Portland last year, her supervisor once claimed anyone who “f*cked with [the supervisor] would get f*cked over twice.”

In the suit, special education teacher Michele Figueira alleged she was subjected to a hostile work environment and discriminated against by the York School District in Maine because she is a lesbian. Figueira worked for the district from 2018 to 2021, when the school failed to renew her contract. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“During her employment with YSD, Figueira was subjected to a series of degrading and humiliating remarks about her sexuality (and about the sexuality of other teachers and parents) from her direct supervisor, Joelle Coleman,” according to the lawsuit filed in July, 2023.

Figueira alleged Coleman asked if she and her wife had “roles” in their relationship, speculated out loud repeatedly about which of their colleagues were gay, and asked about Figueira’s “gaydar.”

Figueira said Coleman suggested she wear rainbow clothing for a meeting with the gay parents of a student and implied with a limp wrist that they were “needy” and “flaming.”

The plaintiff “repeatedly told Ms. Coleman to stop and explained to her why her comments were offensive and derogatory, but she continued,” the lawsuit claimed. 

The suit also detailed the actions of a middle school teacher, Carla Gill, who was friendly with Coleman, and, like Figueira, a lesbian.

It was “like a Gay and Lesbian University at the high school,” Figueira claimed Gill once told her. “Where did they get so many gay and lesbian teachers?”

On one occasion, when Gill and Figueira passed a fellow female teacher, Figueira alleges Gill told her, “There’s another one.” When Figueira told her the teacher was married with two children, she says Gill responded, “Oh no, she just hasn’t realized it yet or admitted it,” referring to being gay.

Despite Coleman receiving a written warning for “inappropriate behavior,” and her own admission to Figueira that she had “f*cked up” on several occasions, the school district found Coleman “did not violate the York School Department’s harassment and discrimination policies.” 

Superintendent Timothy Doak of the York School District said in an email to the Portland Press Herald on Monday that “the parties reached a settlement agreement to their mutual satisfaction and will not provide further comment.” 

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