An Edina elementary school teacher who was removed from her classroom in 2009 after a scuffle with an unruly first-grader has resigned after reaching a $100,000 settlement with the district.
Deborah York has not taught in the Edina district since November 2009. The settlement approved Tuesday by the school board says she voluntarily resigned for health reasons.
"The case has been settled to everybody's mutual consent," said York's attorney, Philip Villaume.
According to accounts given by an attorney who previously represented York, the case began when a first-grade boy pushed a classmate into a desk. York sent the other children out of the room as she tried to deal with him. The situation grew more heated, and York lifted a chair to try to fend off the boy, who pushed her. York sprained her back and neck and was on sick leave when the district put her on administrative leave for sharing what had happened with parents. It said the communication had violated state privacy laws.
York's departure from Countryside Elementary spurred sign-waving protests from her backers and an online petition from parents who said she was unfairly blamed for informing parents of what had happened. The district investigated but did not take disciplinary action.
York, 59, was transferred to Concord Elementary for the 2010-11 school year, but she never returned to work.
The settlement agreement entitles her to severance and retiree health insurance benefits until she reaches age 65. In return, she must dismiss claims against the district that are pending before the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380