Lincoln schools settle disabled woman’s discrimination suit

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Lincoln Public Schools will pay a woman who uses crutches $300,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming she wasn’t hired for special education teacher positions because of her disability.

Rachel Veenendaal, who is partially paralyzed, said in the lawsuit that she was told by school officials she was a “hazard on crutches” who would endanger students in the district, The Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Lincoln Public Schools said in a statement it did not admit wrongdoing but settled the lawsuit to avoid the costs of litigation.

“At LPS, we remain committed to that core belief of providing opportunities of growth for all employees and students,” the district said.

Veenendaal was a substitute teacher in the district since October 2009 and was hired in May 2017 as a half-time special education/learning resource teacher at Zeman Elementary School.

According to the lawsuit, after the job offer she was told she did not pass a required physical exam.

She alleged she later was told she was barred from teaching special education at Lincoln Public Schools and then was informed she could not work in special education in any capacity.

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