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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Teacher’s Aide Says She Was Fired for|Reporting Drug-Dealing Third Grader

PONTIAC, Mich. (CN) - A special education aide at an elementary school says she was told to "shut her mouth and walk away" and then fired after reporting that a third grader was "selling amphetamine pills to other students on school property."

Janine Fisher-Ethier sued Clawson Public Schools and Schalm Elementary School principal Patricia Pell in Oakland County Court.

Fisher-Ethier, a paraprofessional, says she reported the drug dealing tyke in April 2008.

She says that on April 13, 2008 Pell told her that she was "overstepping her authority" and "sharing confidential information," by telling a latchkey supervisor about the drug-dealing third grader. "Defendant Pell also told the plaintiff that if the plaintiff saw any pills in the future she was to 'shut her mouth and walk away,'" according to the complaint.

On April 14, she say, Pell wrote her up and placed a letter in her personnel file stating that "'if there are any further incidents of breach of confidentiality on your part, the resulting consequence will be up to and/or including dismissal from your position with Clawson Public Schools.'"

Fisher-Ethier says that in May that year, the same third grader "drew a picture and wrote that he was going to kill a specific student."

She says the picture was handed over to Pell.

Fisher-Ethier says that the threatened student's parents contacted Clawson Police, and that after asking her union president how to deal with it, and being told "to truthfully answer any and all questions posed by the police," she gave the police a written statement about the drug dealing and the death threat.

Fisher-Ethier says that after she sent an email to "every member of the Clawson School District Board informing them of the student selling amphetamine pills and threatening other students," she was unjustly fired by Clawson's Superintendent, without prior disciplinary action.

Fisher-Ethier demands lost wages and damages for tortious interference, defamation, and violations of whistleblower and civil rights laws.

She is represented by Deborah Gordon of Bloomfield Hills.

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