Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
LPS agrees to pay Lincoln woman $300K to settle lawsuit
0 Comments
editor's pick alert

LPS agrees to pay Lincoln woman $300K to settle lawsuit

  • Updated
  • 0

Lincoln Public Schools has agreed to pay a Lincoln woman $300,000 to settle her lawsuit alleging she wasn't hired for special education teacher positions because of her disability.

Rachel Veenendaal is partially paralyzed from the waist down and uses crutches. She had been a substitute teacher for several years and has a bachelor's degree in special education.

In a statement, Lincoln Public Schools said: "In order to avoid the costs and uncertainties of litigation, Lincoln Public Schools determined to settle the lawsuit filed by Ms. Veenendaal. … At LPS, we remain committed to that core belief of providing opportunities of growth for all employees and students."

Two teens arrested after burglarizing home, stealing gift cards, rifle scope, Lincoln police say

LPS did not admit to any liability or wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

On Wednesday, Veenendaal's attorney, Kathleen Neary, said: "I am appreciative that once LPS learned of the facts and evidence supporting Ms. Veenendaal's claims, the parties were able to reach a reasonable resolution."

Veenendaal had worked for LPS as a substitute teacher since October 2009 and was hired in May 2017 as a half-time special education/learning resource teacher at Zeman Elementary School in addition.

Lincoln man defrauded of more than $25,000, police say; nearly $16,000 recovered

According to the lawsuit, following the job offer, she had to submit to a physical exam and was told she didn't pass.

Neary said during a meeting that June with LPS's risk manager and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specialist, Veenendaal was called "a hazard on crutches" and told she could endanger children due to her disability.

When Veenedaal demonstrated how she used her crutches to carry objects, Neary said, they looked confused and shocked.

UNL chancellor pledges to do more on sexual misconduct training and to support sex assault survivors

Neary said when Veenendaal asked if she could park close to the school in the winter, they declined, asking how she could handle real emergencies and what would happen if she slipped on water. She suggested that she be allowed to use a walkie-talkie or phone if she needed help.

In early 2018, Veenendaal applied for a full-time special education teacher/learning resource teacher position at Zeman but was told she wasn't being offered the position because she couldn't run after or restrain students.

Neary said she was told that she was barred from teaching special education at LPS. And the position was offered to someone without a disability.

Omaha police officer charged in crash where sergeant didn't check for alcohol use

That February, she was told she could no longer work in special education in any capacity because she couldn't bend, climb, twist, lift and sprint.

Veenendaal filed an ADA complaint with LPS's district office. In August 2018, she requested permission to accept a long-term special education substitute teaching position at Culler Middle School. She was approved, but prohibited from applying for other special ed positions with LPS.

In 2019, she sued. The case had been headed toward trial in U.S. District Court in October before the parties settled and asked the judge to dismiss the case this week.

Nebraska Task Force 1 done in Louisiana, awaiting next direction

Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger

0 Comments
0
0
0
1
1

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News

Husker News