December 21, 2014

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Former employee files lawsuit against Wellington Schools

WELLINGTON — A dispute that started more than a year ago between a former Wellington Schools employee and members of the school board culminated this month when the former employee filed a lawsuit against the school district.

On July 17, Christopher Kamenski, a former curriculum director for Wellington Schools who has since taken a position at a school district in Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cleveland against Wellington Schools, Superintendent John Nolan and three members of the school board.

In the lawsuit, Kamenski alleges Nolan and school board members Sally Stewart, Jacquie Dovin and Joe Calfo published false statements about Kamenski with the “purpose of causing injury.’’

Kamenski contends in the suit that Wellington Schools took actions against him that “constitute retaliation for his exercise of his First Amendment, Freedom of Speech rights,” and that he is entitled to compensation from the school district for “emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and general loss of enjoyment of life.”

According to Kamenski, the conflict started at the end of 2012 when Nolan referred to another Wellington Schools employee as a “bag lady” at a board meeting. Kamenski wrote an email to Nolan saying that his comments were “lacking integrity.”

Over the course of the next few months, Kamenski claims the school board “turned on (Kamenski)… with the deliberate attempt to retaliate against him” and that they sent letters to his past employers — including Oberlin Schools — to request Kamenski’s personnel file.

In the complaint, Kamenski contends that members of the school board called him “mentally unstable” on more than one occasion.

On June 29, 2013, Kamenski resigned from Wellington Schools. Soon after he took a position at a school district in Michigan, an unsigned letter was sent from Wellington Schools to his new employer, saying that Kamenski had “damaged most of his past employing districts,” the complaint said.

Kamenski is seeking compensation from Wellington Schools for what he cites as retaliatory harassment, disability discrimination, defamation and invasion of privacy.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.