Federal Judge allows cheating lawsuit from 2007-08 against Michelle Rhee to continue
A special education teacher who says he was fired for blowing the whistle on his school’s practice of tampering with test scores survived the city’s motion to dismiss.
Bruno Mpoy sued the District of Columbia for allegedly firing him from his position at Ludlow Elementary School after he reported to former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee that his principal “instructed teachers [there], including [plaintiff], to change and falsify student records, to alter test scores on standardized assessments, and to fabricate levels of student achievement.”
Mpoy also sued Rhee, former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and The New Teacher Project, which the educator claims cut off his tuition assistance when he lost his job.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that nearly all of Mpoy’s claims survived the motion to dismiss, with the exception being his claim against The New Teacher Project.
“Even if that termination was wrongful and beyond plaintiff’s control, and even if plaintiff alleges he fulfilled his other obligation under the agreement – doing a satisfactory job – it does not alter the fact that plaintiff did not meet his end of the bargain under the agreement,” explained Judge Boasberg. Mpoy says he was getting tuition assistance from the program to help pay for his teaching certification and complete a masters program at George Washington University.
The judge allowed Mpoy’s claims under the D.C. Whistleblower Act and the D.C. Human Rights Act along with his retaliation, breach of contract and wrongful termination claims against the city and its officials to advance.
The District, Rhee, Fenty and Ludlow’s principal Donald Presswood face paying out compensatory damages to Mpoy if he wins, but Judge Boasberg will only allow Mpoy to seek punitive damages against Rhee and Presswood.