Teacher Claims She Was Fired For Religious Beliefs, Denies Grabbing a Student

According to the New American, a New York City special education teacher has said that she was fired for being a devout Christian and that her faith and spirituality provoked harassment. Anita Wooten-Francis claims the principal at the Canarsie school mocked her for her beliefs and eventually fired her for them, too.

Francis claims she adhered to school policy and did not influence her students with her faith. However, she admits to praying for her students before and after they entered and exited the classroom, and leading a worship group during non-instructional hours. Francis taught at the Canarsie section of Brooklyn for 16 years, and claims she had no issues until Principal George Andrews arrived in 2004. Andrews often remarked on Francis’ Christian beliefs and was offensive regarding her faith, says Francis.

In one instance, the Principal criticized a disabled woman for using the elevator and told her to pray her disabilities away, claims Francis.

The school said that Anita Wooten Francis was fired for grabbing a child, which the plaintiff insists was a manufactured story in order to hide the real reason for her wrongful termination. The plaintiff says after she began to complain about Andrews’ behavior she was falsely charged with putting her hands on a child. She claims such an action would be impossible to do as she suffers from nerve damage in her hands from a number of medical problems, and that she often loses feeling in her hands and drops things, therefore she is not capable of physically grabbing a child. Francis is suing the Department of Education on charges of employment discrimination and other unspecified damages.

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