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Teachers Accuse Principal of Bullying

Lawsuit filed Tuesday

By Chris Gordon
|  Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012  |  Updated 6:59 PM EDT
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Teachers Accuse Principal of Bullying

NBCWashington.com

Kemp Mill Elementary School

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Some teachers in Montgomery County say they have been the victims of bullying at the hands of a principal.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the teachers claim the principal’s actions forced them out of their jobs.

The teachers and staff members met with their attorney after filing a lawsuit against the Montgomery County Board of Education for ignoring their complaints against Kemp Mill Elementary School Principal Floyd Starnes, who they say created a hostile environment.

"I was at Kemp Mill for 28 years, and the reason we're bringing the lawsuit is to stop the bullying by the principal,” teacher Barbara Reeks said. “It brought great sorrow to see the school brought down from a top quality school to now a school that's underachieving."

"I feel that I am an excellent teacher but I have been bullied and harassed and observed repeatedly to the point that it really doesn't matter what method I use, it will be criticized,” said Joan Kaltreider, who taught at Kemp Mill for 27 years. “It has gotten to the point that I couldn't go into the building anymore."

Their lawyer said they are suing for money but really want action.

"We are seeking for the Board of Education to do what they haven't done for the past four-and-a-half years: Step in, get rid of this principal,” Robert Weltcheck said. “Let these teachers be restored to the dignity that they have earned."

Starnes was not at Kemp Mill when News4 tried to get a comment, but the Board of Education issued a statement saying, “It is unfortunate that a group of people is using the media to make accusations -- thus far proven to be overwhelmingly false and erroneous -- against the principal of Kemp Mill Elementary School.”

"I personally feel that Principal Starnes has the best interests of the students at heart,” said PTA Vice President Kellie Grady, who has had five children attend Kemp Mill. “I have no reason at this time to have Principal Starnes leave the school."

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