In complaints to commission, employees detail harassment at N. Charleston school

In complaints to commission, employees detail harassment at N. Charleston school

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - New documents filed with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission by Charleston County School District teachers and employees detail the harassment they say they experienced at Liberty Hill Academy in North Charleston.

Three teachers and a secretary have filed complaints with the commission over the past six months, with the most recent coming on Nov. 13.

Teacher Michelle Zager states she resigned from the school in late June 2018 because she could, “no longer physically or mentally work there.” She claims that her civil rights were violated because she alleges she was discriminated against based on her race and sex. Zager alleged she was threatened with violence, called racial slurs and harassed sexually and that the school didn’t respond appropriately to her complaints.

Mary Wood, a secretary, says she was fired in October and claimed she was intimidated and harassed at the school. Wood details some of the names she says she was called at the school which includes prolific profanity and sexual gestures. She claimed the school’s principal and assistant principal witnessed some of the alleged harassment and “just kinda looked and smiled.”

Wood claims she was fired while on FMLA for medically authorized leave.

“I really started to feel degraded and a low life,” Wood wrote. “I was at the point scared of the students."

Teacher Lynsey Harper alleged harassment between August 2017 and June 2018 when she said she was “constructively discharged” and compelled to resign because of what she says was a hostile work environment.

“I was called racial slurs, spoken to in demeaning misogynistic language and often threatened with bodily harm,” Harper wrote. “In addition, I was subjected to sexually offensive behavior and comments on a daily basis.”

Teacher Sandra Lemen says she experienced sexual harassment and intimidation between September 2016 and May 2018. She also says the school showed favoritism toward younger and male employees.

“My employer created an environment where students were able to bully me, say sexually explicit things to me, and abuse me on a continuous bases,” she wrote. “I repeatedly would ask that these students be removed from my classroom; however I was not taken seriously and treated in a demeaning manner by the school.”

Previously released documents show 26 incidents of staff members who were injured on school grounds. In a recent investigation, Live 5 News uncovered more than 4,000 student disciplinary incidents were filed at the school in 2017, yet nearly half were never processed.

We’ve reached out to the Charleston County School District for comment.

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