Family sues Mathews district, alleging discrimination



A lawsuit accusing the Mathews Board of Education and Superintendent Lee Seiple of nine counts of discrimination, harassment and civil-rights violations has been filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

Carol Lynne Sassya of Girard filed the suit, which seeks damages in excess of $75,000. The lawsuit stems from an incident in which a Mathews school bus driver, Kathy Kotanichek, called one of Sassya’s children, who are of Lebanese descent, “a terrorist.” Kotanichek subsequently was convicted of disorderly conduct and fined but allowed to keep her job. She is barred from contact with the children by restraining order.

The lawsuit lists a series of incidents involving Kotanichek and alleges that Seiple and the board were too slow in their response when the family complained about the driver.

“This family has been through a lot, and we’ve had years of suffering,” Sassya said.

A spokeswoman for the board of education said its legal counsel has not yet been assigned by its insurance carrier.

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