A black elementary school teacher who fought against the St. Paul School District in Minnesota for their practice of letting minority students get away with bad behavior won $525,000 in a settlement Tuesday night.
Aaron Benner filed a federal lawsuit in 2015, claiming that the school district basically made him quit his job because they investigated him four times in the 2014-15 school year despite the fact he had never been disciplined before. Benner had already been teaching for 19 years by 2014, when he and four other teachers told a board meeting that the district was not reprimanding students for their bad behavior. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported, “Benner, who is black, accused the district of failing black students by not holding them accountable for disruptive behavior. The district was being led then by Valeria Silva, who sought to reduce racial disparities in student discipline.”
After the settlement, Benner stated, “I thank God for all the blessings in my life. I turned 50 this year, got married in July and now (there is) this settlement.” The district did not admit they had done anything wrong, but wanted to avoid the costs of a lawsuit, asserting, “This agreement enables the district to avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of protracted legal proceedings regarding its previous policies, practices and expectations.”
Benner won a recent court ruling allowing him to seek punitive damages when the case went to trial. – READ MORE