Bel Air, MD – July 28,2009 – A former teacher at C. Milton Wright High School filed suit today in Harford County Circuit Court against principal Marlene Molter. In the four-count complaint, teacher John Anker charges Molter with Negligence, Interference with Contract, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Defamation regarding the circumstances of his dismissal at the end of the 08-09 school year.
According to the complaint and Anker’s attorney, Lawrence P. Pinno, Jr., Molter acted in an arbitrary, capricious, and malicious manner to ensure that Anker’s non-tenured contract would not be renewed, regardless of his actual performance. “When a principal has to lie several times to her superior during an evaluation conference, that should signal exactly what her intent was,” says Pinno. “Mr. Anker approached me over a year ago with the concern that, regardless of his performance, she was going to do what she could to ensure his contract wasn’t renewed. lt should be a tremendous red flag that, this past year especially, the observation assessments of Mr. Anker conducted by Mrs. Molter were negative and completely contradictory to the overwhelmingly positive ones completed by the school’s experienced instructional facilitator.
“The Maryland State Board of Education and Harford County Public School made a large effort to mitigate bullying in the schools this past year. What do you do when the principal is the one doing the bullying?” asks Pinno, himself a former HCPS School Board Member. “How does a teacher get selected as Teacher of the Month by his peers and then recommended for non-renewal all in the same month?”
The suit also charges that Molter forced Anker to violate his student’s First Amendment rights as part of the expectations placed on him. “This put him in a position where he could be sued by a student,” says Pinno. “We can point to the day she started her campaign to destroy Mr. Anker. We have the memo that demonstrates she lied to HCPS Director of Secondary Education, Mr. Volrath, during Mr. Anker’s final evaluation conference while it also reveals the catalyst of her malicious acts.”
Explaining the suit, Mr. Pinno said, “Mr. Anker is following the due process available to him by appealing, through the appropriate channels, the board’s decision to not renew his contract. Mrs. Molter is the specific party to this suit because, had the standard Harford County evaluation process been allowed to proceed unfettered by her in Mr. Anker’s case, he’d already have tenure and be happily employed at C. Milton Wright where he was a popular teacher who was known for his dedication to his students.”
C. Milton Wright students have expressed their outrage of the situation by organizing a Facebook Cause, which has grown to 372 members.