Former Prosper High School teacher Maribeth Thomas filed a lawsuit against Prosper ISD on Wednesday. She is seeking unspecified damages stemming from an incident that occurred last school year. Thomas claims that she was improperly reprimanded by principal Greg Wright for reporting teacher abuse allegations to the city police department instead of the school district’s.
An audio recording of a meeting between the two has been made public. Wright is heard on the recording saying that the incident upset him as much as anything else has in his career. He added, “I’m all about the team, I’m all about PR and how this high school looks.”
Texas law requires teachers to report all child abuse allegations to authorities within 48 hours. Section 261.110 of the Texas family code specifically states that, “an employer may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or otherwise discriminate against, a person who is a professional, and who in good faith, reports child abuse or neglect to a law enforcement agency.”
Thomas’s attorney Debbie Sanchez believes that the school district was in clear violation of the statute. While Thomas was not terminated from her job, the audio recording appears to show Wright chastising her for going outside of the district. Thomas also claims that she was treated unfairly for the remainder of the semester, forcing her to seek employment elsewhere.
The ordeal has reportedly put a tremendous strain on both Thomas and her family. Sanchez believes this case is important so that other whistleblowers aren’t scared to come forward.
“Ms. Thomas wants Prosper ISD to do the right thing,” Sanchez said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Proper ISD officials previously defended Wright’s actions. They have remained silent since Thomas’s grievance against the district became public. The district also declined to comment on this latest legal action.
The PISD saga has thrust Prosper into the national spotlight as the story spreads via news outlets and social media. Prosper Mayor Ray Smith said that the city would not officially comment on the matter since the school district and city government are two distinct organizations, each with their own guiding principles.
“We wish them well, and our hope is that they resolve their matters as they see fit,” Smith said.
The case will be tried in Collin County. The first hearing date has not been announced yet.
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