Supreme Court sides with former Federal Way teacher

From staff reports:

In an 8-1 decision, the Washington State Supreme Court sided with former Federal Way Public Schools teacher David Vinson.

Vinson was terminated from FWPS in 2007 following a verbal altercation with former student Rebecca Nistrian at a local Taco Time, an incident in which both parties traded vulgar insults. The state's high court upheld an initial hearing officer's decision that FWPS had no grounds to terminate Vinson in 2007, a decision the district appealed and ultimately got overturned by the State Court of Appeals.

According to the Supreme Court's decision, FWPS had no grounds under state law to appeal the hearing officer's initial decision. The state law gives individual employees the right to appeal a hearing officer's decision, but not an entity such as the district, the court found.

The majority opinion by the Supreme Court also upheld the hearing officer's ruling that FWPS had not provided justifiable cause for Vinson's termination, and that the incident that led to the troubles was not egregious enough to be cause for termination either.

To read The Mirror's 2008 report on this case, click here.

FWPS and Vinson are not done yet. Vinson also filed another lawsuit against the school district alleging discrimination based on Vinson's sexual orientation. The case is still pending.


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