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East County Tuesday, May 5, 2009 13 years ago

Court dismisses Cropsey case


The United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division on Monday granted the School Board of Manatee County’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety in a case brought by former Mills Elementary teacher Mary Cropsey.

The decision came in a different venue than a State of Florida Appellate ruling involving Cropsey issued Friday.

The conclusion in Monday’s ruling read in part: “viewing the entirety of the record in the light most favorable to Cropsey, there are no genuine issues of material fact as to any of her claims.”

In the case ruled on Monday, Cropsey alleged the defendants — which included the Manatee County School Board, former Superintendent Dr. Roger Dearing and Mills Principal Mike Rio — did not renew her annual teaching contract and terminated her employment to “punish her and retaliate against her for exercising her constitutionally protected rights of free speech, to engage in legitimate criticisms of matters of public concern concerning school conditions and safety, and to exercise her right against self incrimination and to have representation of her choosing.”

In its ruling, the court explained that Cropsey’s annual contract was not renewed in January 2007 along with eight other Mills teachers after it was learned that enrollment at Mills was projected to drop from 1,000 students to 795 students because of the opening of a new elementary school. Subsequent criticisms and complaints lodged by Cropsey came a month or more after her contract was non-renewed.


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