School pays out $110K to teacher in anti-gay lawsuit in NJ

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Somerset County Vo-Tech in Bridgewater
Somerset County Vo-Tech in Bridgewater, NJ

Kevin McManus will get $110,000 to settle a lawsuit in which he claimed he was harassed by students because he’s gay while he worked at Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School. The lawsuit was filed in 2015.

He was a Spanish teacher at the Bridgewater, New Jersey high school. In the lawsuit he claimed he was the subject of a hostile work environment. The problem he said in the lawsuit occurred when a student revealed he was gay during a class in 2011. The students allegedly had mock him with statements such as, “don’t drop the soap,” and “do you like nuts?”

McManus also alleged that the Somerset County Vo-Tech, in Bridgewater, not only failed to take action on the matter, but also retaliated against him after he filed a civil rights complaint.

Meanwhile, many other students rated him very highly. Said one student on the website Rate My Teacher, “AMAZING teacher! His class is extremely easy only because he makes everything so fun and enjoyable. He took a random leave of absence (no one knew why) in the 2013-2014 year so I was pretty bummed. Hope he returns for 2014-2015.”

McManus eventually approached the school’s disciplinary coordinator, Jamie Morales, who allegedly neglected to take “the appropriate steps to stop it.” The taunting continued said McManus. So, he then turned to Principal Diane Ziegler and the Affirmative Action Officer, Teresa Morelli. He said in the lawsuit that both of them allegedly failed to address the harassment.

He then he says had to file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights. McManus alleged in that complaint that school officials retaliated against him by demanding his resignation and preventing him from using personal days and paid leaves of absence.

William Hyncik, President of the school’s board of education, signed off on a $110,000 settlement for McManus in December 2017. The agreement contains a confidentiality clause and a stipulation stating the payment cannot be interpreted as an admission of guilt by anyone including the local board of education.