Fired New Jersey Teacher Claims She Was Sexually Harassed By Fifth Graders

“The Community Charter School of Paterson is deeply committed to creating a workplace where students and staff alike feel safe.”

A New Jersey teacher filed a lawsuit Monday claiming that she was sexually harassed by fifth graders before she was let go by the school, reported.

Denise Kruse, 36, alleges that students from the Community Charter School of Paterson made “thrusting motions” behind her, asked if she had ever performed oral sex, took videos of her buttocks and shared them to social media platform Snapchat and reached into their pants and touched their genitals in front of her.

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Attorneys for Kruse claim that the school took no action to defend her from the harassment, despite her raising the issue with administrators.

The lawsuit also alleges that the school discriminated against her by failing to renew her contract for the 2018-2019 school year as part of a plan by school CEO Curtis Palmore to replace white teachers with African-American educators he has worked with from the Bronx.

In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Community Charter insisted its protocols for investigating claims of sexual harassment are “fair and thorough.”

“The Community Charter School of Paterson is deeply committed to creating a workplace and learning community that is free of harassment or discrimination of any kind, where students and staff alike feel safe, supported and cared for,” the statement said

“While the school cannot comment on a complaint that has not been served, or publicly discuss an employee’s job performance, one can be assured that the school’s protocols for investigating and addressing sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation are consistent, fair and thorough,” the statement added.

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The lawsuit comes amid a growing national spotlight shined on sexual misconduct and harassment in classroom settings. Much media attention has been focused on harassment claims made against teachers for abusing students.  However, Kruse’s complaint is one of several unique cases brought against Pemberton charter schools in recent years.

Last year, Community Charter was forced to pay out $90,000 after a substitute teacher alleged that she was sexually harassed by a school administrator.

Additionally, College Achieve Charter School principal Henry McNair has been accused of sexual misconduct at two different schools in New Jersey.

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