A former vice principal is suing Lodi Unified School District for what she considers wrongful termination.
Lurdes Rosales was fired from her position as vice principal of Lodi Middle School in June 2012, following a controversial incident involving Rosales and physical education teacher Jon Lapachet in December 2011, according to her lawyer, Israel Ramirez.
Rosales placed Jon Lapachet under citizen's arrest about 27 hours after she claimed he bumped into her and blew a whistle loudly in her ear. Rosales said at the time that she chose to arrest Lapachet as a result of ongoing friction between some teachers and administration at the school.
The San Joaquin County District Attorney's office declined to move forward with charges regarding the case. An investigation by the school district had no findings.
Rosales filed a claim against the district soon after the event, but that was rejected by the district. She then filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on Dec. 7, 2012.
Ramirez said Rosales filed her suit because she was not satisfied with how the district handled the incident.
"No one should get terminated because they called the police to report an incident of abuse at work," said Ramirez. "What she did with the police was a protected activity and she should not suffer retaliation."
The Lodi Education Association was originally a defendant in the suit for an anti-bullying campaign at Lodi Middle School that cited the administration as a bully, said Ramirez.
"The union tried to claim my client bullied the teacher in question. He is a foot taller and a former college athlete. To suggest my client somehow bullied him is ridiculous and laughable," said Ramirez.
LEA was removed from the suit this week.
"Our activities at Lodi Middle School fell within the scope and purview of protected speech," said LEA president Jeff Johnston. "I'm surprised we were named and we're ultimately glad she dropped us."
Ramirez said LEA was dropped because the wrongful termination was carried out by the board of trustees, not the union.
Ralph Womack, board president, declined to comment and directed questions to Lodi Unified's legal department. The district is being represented by attorney Lynn Garcia, who did not return requests for comment.
Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer did not return requests for comment.
Lodi Unified has filed a demurrer in response to the lawsuit, saying some causes of action in it need to be clarified. They have not yet submitted those clarifications.
Ramirez said his client has not yet made a monetary demand, as damages are ongoing. He declined to say whether Rosales has taken on another job.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.