COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Colleton County School District is being sued by one of its former teachers. The suit also names a current employee of the school district.
The lawsuit was filed in February on behalf of former Colleton County High School teacher Aretha Elizabeth Bennett.
An official at the high school said Bennett no longer works there.
Theola Pitts, the woman being sued along with the Colleton County school district, still works as the culinary arts instructor at the Thunderbolt Career & Technology School, according to its website. The school is referred to as “TCTC” in the document.
The lawsuit alleges that "In May 2016, Pitts communicated to her class at TCTC that Bennett forced her daughter to have an abortion after she became pregnant at age of 11.”
It goes on to state that “Pitts further communicated to her class that Bennett’s daughter became pregnant again and gave birth to a child at age 12, and that Bennett raises and identifies the alleged child as her own.”
The suit states that the accusations are false and the daughter was never pregnant.
Bennett’s daughter learned of the information and was very distraught, according to the lawsuit. So Bennett reported the situation to an assistant superintendent who began an investigation.
In June 2016, the lawsuit states “Bennett received an apology letter from Pitts and an email from the assistant superintendent, indicating there would be no further penalties for Pitts.”
The lawsuit claims the incident has been “detrimental to the plaintiff’s family, mental health and reputation.”
It is suing Pitts for defamation and slander among other offenses.
And the Colleton County School District is named in the lawsuit for “negligent retention.”
Specifically, it claims the “Colleton County School District owed a duty to Bennett, and that it breached this duty by retaining Pitts as an employee after her slanderous publications against Bennett.”
The suit does not name a dollar amount, but seeks actual, consequential and punitive damages.
The Colleton County School District did not respond to a request for a comment.
The attorney representing Bennett, William Pyatt, declined comment after a phone call to his office in Columbia.