Ringgold settles federal discrimination lawsuit

March 21, 2013

NEW EAGLE – Ringgold School Board has settled a federal age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by a former math teacher.

The board unanimously approved the settlement following a court appearance Wednesday, the district’s solicitor said.

The district appeared in federal court that day to settle a lawsuit filed by Kathleen Pitzer of Eighty Four, who claimed she was denied opportunities and technology afforded to younger teachers after her return from a sabbatical and then fired in October 2009 after being investigated for a minor incident in her classroom, court records show.

Pitzer sought lost wages in the three-count lawsuit, which was approved by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August 2010, the record indicates. She filed the lawsuit within 90 days of the EEOC decision and also named as a defendant Ringgold Principal Dwayne Homa, who was dropped from the case a year later.

U.S. Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh closed the case Thursday pending the execution of the settlement, saying she would reconsider the lawsuit if the settlement isn’t enforced, her ruling indicates.

Ringgold directors did not discuss the case during a board meeting a day earlier.

Ringgold solicitor Timothy Berrgren said he informed the board the settlement’s terms would become public once the settlement is signed by both sides.

“It’s not public until it is signed and entered into the court record,” Berrgren said.

Pitzer’s attorney, Joel S. Sansone of Pittsburgh, could not be reached Thursday.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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