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Scranton Teacher Sues Superintendent For First Amendment Violations

September 26, 2018

A Scranton teacher claims the district superintendent retaliated against him for being a vocal critic of her leadership and the administration. In a lawsuit filed this month in federal court, West Scranton High School social studies teacher Steve Bartnicki says Alexis Kirijan, Ed.D., violated his First Amendment rights by harassing him both in and out of school. Over the last year, Bartnicki spoke out against the school district at public meetings and during rallies, and appeared in The Times-Tribune and on television news. At one meeting, he mentioned the “corruption and gross malfeasance” of Kirijan, the lawsuit states. Around Easter, Kirijan asked Bartnicki’s priest not to let him read during the Mass, saying that she finds the teacher “offensive,” according to the lawsuit. Kirijan also mentioned Bartnicki during a school board meeting in a reference to “adult bullying.” Bartnicki claims Kirijan kept him from teaching an honors class this school year and stopped him from being appointed as a soccer coach. Bartnicki, who is represented by Pittston attorney Cynthia Pollick, seeks damages for emotional distress, appointment to the soccer coach position, assignment to the honors class and for Kirijan to stop the “retaliatory conduct.” Kirijan declined to comment on the lawsuit, in which both she and the district are named as defendants. Contact the writer: shofius@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9133; @hofiushallTT on Twitter

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