Colman Domingo
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HIV-Positive
Teacher Sues School, Claims Wrongful Firing

The U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission is filing a suit against
a Maryland school for allegedly firing a teacher
because he is HIV positive.

Chauncey
Stevenson, who taught second grade and after school music
classes at Chesapeake Academy in Arnold, had been employed
from 2003-2006 and received good evaluations from
supervisors, reports the Baltimore Sun. His contract
was not renewed for the 2006-2007 school year, which
caused him to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC
filed the suit on after no settlement was made with the
school.

"They were
advised that he was HIV-positive and he was fired, despite
the fact that he wanted to come back to work," EEOC attorney
Jacqueline H. McNair told the Sun. "He was a good
teacher and well-liked."

The EEOC says
Chesapeake Academy violated the Americans with Disabilities
Act, which defines HIV as a disability, therefore making it
unlawful to wrongfully terminate someone with the
virus.

"From our
perspective we did not feel the decision we made had
anything to do with the disability," head of school at
Chesapeake Academy Jay Scheurle said in a statement.
“We intend to defend the claim
vigorously.”

The private
academy, Scheurle says, promotes diversity throughout
it’s pre-school to fifth grade classrooms.

“They seem
very open to ideas. Very progressive. They are not
closed-minded,” Tracy Eklof, a parent of two academy
students, said in The Capital.

Stevenson’s lawsuit intends to force the Academy to
create a safety net in its policy for other faculty
members, ensuring wrongful termination cannot happen
again. He also seeks back pay and “front pay with
prejudgment interest.” (The Advocate)

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