Teachers put on leave after bullying supposed gay studentby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Two Anoka-Hennepin teachers accused of bullying a student because they thought he was gay won't be returning to school when classes resume Tuesday.
District officials say teachers Diane Cleveland and Walter Filson are on leave.
Phil Villaume is Cleveland's attorney. He said his client has been overwhelmed by the controversy.
"Because of all the news coverage in this case and the pressure it's brought to bear on her, she thought it was in her best interest to take a short leave," Villaume said. "She's not going to resign, and they're not going to terminate her, and I'm anticipating once it dies down, and hopefully that will be soon, she'll return to the classroom."
Villaume said the criticisms have been difficult for Cleveland, though he acknowledged that her past comments were probably out of line with, "What we teach these teachers today to say and not say."
But critics have demanded that the teachers be fired. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has found probable cause that the teachers harassed the former student, and the school district paid a $25,000 settlement to his family.
The student, Alex Merritt, eventually graduated from another school outside of the district.