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Teacher from Youngstown claims gender discrimination in Maplewood lawsuit

YOUNGSTOWN — A teacher in the Maplewood Local School District has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging gender discrimination when she was moved from her position of physical education teacher and was replaced by a man.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of teacher Jeanne Dana of 29 Shores Drive, Youngstown, against the school district and its board of education.

The action also accuses the district of violating the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and asks that the defendants give Dana back her physical education teaching position and award appropriate compensatory damages. The plaintiff attorneys Jared Klebanow and Avery Friedman, also seek a trial by jury. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Bonita Pearson of Youngstown.

Dana is a graduate of Youngstown State University with a teaching certificate in physical education for grades K-12 and for teaching health in grades 7-12. She obtained an elementary education certificate in 1990 and was hired by Maplewood to teach fourth grade. Dana taught fourth grade at Maplewood from September 1990 through June 2009. Following the retirement of one of the district’s physical education teachers, Dana was hired to teach phys ed at the elementary building that houses grades K-9. While working there, the complaint states, Dana implemented new programs that enhanced the education experience of her students.

In August 2017, Dana was assigned to teach phys ed to kindergarten students and in grades 3-6. In August 2020, Dana was notified three phys ed teachers were no longer needed in the district, and Dana was reassigned to teach third grade.

During the 2020-21 school year, Dana realized that a third phys ed teacher was needed and the district filled the spot of teaching grade 7-12 phys ed to a man who is not licensed to teach that subject, the complaint states.

“The only female physical education teacher was removed for no reason, other than her being female, and replaced with an unqualified male,” Dana’s complaint states.

gvogrin@tribtoday.com “Dana’s dream job was taken from her because of her gender.”

Both parties and their lawyers met with Pearson in a telephone conference on Oct. 25.

This case was referred to Magistrate Judge Amanda M. Knapp for a mediation to conclude no later than March 15.

Attorney for the school district, Elizabeth A. Braverman, was sent an email seeking a response.

gvogrin@tribtoday.com

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