Mold complaint dismissed

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

A U.S. District Court judge last week dismissed a lawsuit filed against the School Board by a former teacher who claimed mold in her classroom made her sick.

The court found Christina Hood’s lawsuit “does not constitute a cognizable violation of a constitutional right,” according to the finding.

Hood had claimed that she began suffering medical problems after beginning her job as a teacher at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in 2007. She said itchy and irritated eyes, a rash, sinusitis and bronchitis were caused by mold in the school.

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She had requested damages of $1.5 million.

Hood’s complaint accused the School Board of deliberately exposing her to dangerous conditions at the school, claiming that the board knew of the mold and bacteria growths before she was hired. She also alleged that the School Board was deliberately indifferent to her health and safety.

In a motion for dismissal, however, School Board attorney Wendell Waller noted that the school system had not been indifferent to Hood’s medical condition. The response states that the school’s management had allowed Hood to put a dehumidifier in her classroom and frequently inquired as to her condition.

The School Board also retained a professional company to inspect Hood’s classroom for mold. The assistant director for facilities and planning also inquired about Hood’s past medical condition and her symptoms, inspected the classroom for mold and took air samples.

The school division also had Hood’s classroom cleaned thoroughly several times and was willing to transfer her to a middle-school position teaching seventh-grade math, but Hood was licensed only up to sixth grade.

“The facts alleged … fail to meet the strict ‘shock the conscience’ standard because the defendants did not ignore Hood’s complaints but did in fact take steps to remedy conditions in Hood’s classroom,” the motion for dismissal stated.