Quakertown Community School District has reached a settlement with a teacher fired after an incident with a student.
Carol Dzurenda challenged her dismissal, and the case was due to be heard by the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas before the start of this school year. However, under the terms of the agreement, the district will pay Dzurenda $81,794, which includes pay lost from the time she was terminated from January 2018 to June 2018 and reimbursement of her COBRA payments. It will also not mention the circumstances of her departure to a third party.
In return, the former employee has agreed to resign, drop any further legal action, and not disparage the district and its employees. Dzurenda was never charged in the incident and maintains her state certification.
The school board terminated the longtime music teacher in 2018 after she pulled a disruptive child across a classroom carpet. Dzurenda acknowledged the child was upset in her statement, but attributed that to embarrassment. An aide who came in later observed that the student was “visibly upset” and “shaking, crying and holding her arm,” according to a report of the incident.
The teacher appealed the decision through her union, and an arbitrator, Scott Buchheit, finding no evidence that she violated state law, ruled that she be reinstated but without back pay. Earlier this year, board members blasted Dzurenda’s conduct during and after the incident, and voted 6-2 to appeal the arbitrator’s decision, paving the way for a court battle.
Dzurenda, a district employee for nearly 20 years, split her time between Neidig and Tohickon Valley elementary schools, and also served as a piano instructor at the high school for many years, according to the district website.