A math teacher who was fired this year for allegedly calling her students ‘n*****s’ may be re-hired after a judge ruled the school district didn’t follow the proper steps in her termination.
Joyce Quiller, 51, taught math to at-risk students at Jean Ribault High School in Jacksonville, Florida when she got her termination letter last February.
A judge last month ruled that the Duval School District violated Quiller’s union contract by firing her, instead of first putting her on suspension without pay.
‘The School Board skipped step three and went directly to termination even though, if the allegations were true, they would have amounted to what is considered a minor offense,’ Reginal Luster, Quiller’s legal consultant, told WJXT. ‘Not some type of severe misconduct on behalf of Ms Quiller. It does not warrant the termination.’
The school board will meet next week to discuss what to do about the judge’s ruling.
According to a document detailing the January investigation, seven students in the 10th and 11th grade came forward to say Quiller used derogatory language to belittle them. Quiller worked as a math teacher in the Bridge to Success program, which aims at helping at-risk students.
One student described the moment Quiller berated a group of boys after they walked into the classroom, saying: ‘You all are some lazy n****** for coming to class late.’
Another student, who had Quiller for Algebra 2 and Geometry, says she frequently called him the offensive name.
‘You are like the rest of these n*****s, now you want to come to school and do your work,’ she said to that student on one occasion.
Other students say she has called them ‘stupid’ and ‘ignorant’ and has used other curse words in class.
A student who forgot to bring a pencil to class says Quiller told him. ‘What is the point in coming to the mother-f****** class if you do not bring materials?’
However, Quiller’s legal counsel says the judge found the allegations ‘not credible at all’.
Though Quiller has not issued a statement following the judge’s decision, she denied using the n-word in class in the January report.
She wrote that as an African-American she ‘praised herself in being intelligent and classy’, and does not refer to herself or call people of color the n-word.
She went on to say she doesn’t understand why the assistant principal has a ‘vendetta’ against her.
Indeed, Quiller had on three prior occasions been given a written or verbal warning about her language in the presence of students dating back to 2001, according to the report.
In a post on her Facebook page in June, Quiller said she was hired at ‘PHCA’ which may stand for the Potter’s House Christian Academy in Jacksonville.
MailOnline called the private school on Tuesday, but an administrator would neither confirm or deny that Quiller was employed there.
The Duval School Board plans to vote next week on whether to rehire Quiller as a teacher.
Quiller’s attorney with the teacher’s union says the school board may find a legal reason not to follow the judge’s decision.
And even if they do re-hire her, they could fire her again following the steps outlined in her union contract.
‘Since there are so many outstanding issues, Ms Quiller wants to respect the process and is not in a position to make a comment at this time,’ Quiller said in a statement through a representative. She added that she is eager to get back in the classroom.