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Student files suit vs. teacher

By Leonel Sanchez
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

July 23, 2008

It was Valentine's Day and freshman Jade Ray
wanted to join her classmates in the Mount
Miguel High School choir as they delivered
singing grams.

Instead, in front of 50 other students, teacher
Heather Hargett, called her ugly and kicked her
and told her to leave the room, Jade said in a
lawsuit.

What set the teacher off, Jade said in her
lawsuit, was that she questioned paying $15 for
the choir T-shirt that other singers were wearing.

She has never returned to that school and now
wants more than $75,000 for the pain and
humiliation she suffered, her attorney John
Gomez said. Both Hargett and the Grossmont
Union High School District, which oversees the
Spring Valley school, were named in the lawsuit.
It was filed July 9 in San Diego Superior Court.

Hargett declined to comment yesterday. The
Grossmont district said in a statement that it has
taken appropriate action to address the
allegations but declined to further comment.

Jade's attorney said he offered to settle with the
district for $75,000, but the district board
rejected his offer in May. He is now asking for a
jury trial.

According to the lawsuit, Hargett had picked
several groups of students to deliver the singing
grams and “intentionally excluded” Jade. The 14-
year-old asked why, and Hargett answered that
she “looked bad” and had no choir T-shirt.

Jade asked whether the T-shirt really cost $15,
and Hargett told her to leave the class, the
lawsuit said. When Jade asked if she was
serious, Hargett said that if she couldn't afford a
T-shirt, she had to leave. The teacher called
Jade a “brat” and “ugly” and kicked her, the
lawsuit said. The kick landed on her buttocks,
Gomez said.
Blog post: trusted occupations
The woman above (Heather Hargett)
apparently has no clue, or doesn't care,
about how a fourteen-year-old feels when
called "ugly" by her teacher.  

Some have suggested that teachers have
an equal right to sue students for
disrespect, but students aren't being paid
full salaries by the taxpayers to guide and
care for their teachers.  Also, more should
be expected of an older, more powerful
person.
Friendly advice to Heather Hargett: We've come a long way in race relations, but
there's plenty of sensitivity and actual racism today, so it might be a good idea not to
call your black students "ugly."   You're in a particularly bad position, being blond and
attractive.  It's not a big stretch for us to imagine that you really do believe that you're
prettier than Jade.  Just for the record, you're not.