JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Duval County math teacher could soon go from fired to re-hired.
Joyce Quiller, 51, received a termination letter from the school district in February over allegations she led a profanity-laced classroom and called one student the "N" word.
But a judge's ruling last month said the Duval County School District violated the progressive discipline provision of Quiller's contract with the teachers' union that establishes a three-step system of punishment.
The 21-page ruling said Quiller should have been suspended without pay according to her contract.
Quiller's attorney said she's eager to get back into the classroom, but the big question now is whether the School Board will approve the recommendation by the judge and allow her back.
According to a January complaint, Quiller is a foul-mouthed math teacher who told students they were "stupid," "ignorant," and used other derogatory language.
After a series of student and parent complaints about her behavior, Quiller was fired in February.
One student claimed Quiller said, "You are all some lazy n---- for coming to class late."
But Quiller's legal consultant said she's never used the "N" word in the classroom.
Another student said he was berated after forgetting to bring a pencil to class and accused Quiller of saying, "What is the point in coming to the mother f---- class if you do not bring materials?"
"The School Board skipped step three and went directly to termination even though, if the allegations were true, they would have amounted to what is considered a minor offense," said Reginal Luster, Quiller's legal consultant. "Not some type of severe misconduct on behalf of Ms. Quiller. It does not warrant the termination."
But those complaints weren't the first time Quiller's language didn't add up for the district.
Since 2001 there have been three incidents where the 21-year educator has been given either a verbal or written reprimand for inappropriate language with students.
"The administrative judge found that the majority of those allegations were not credible at all and my client has denied using that particular language," Luster said.
According to Stephanie Schaap, Quiller's attorney with the teachers' union, if the School Board finds a legal reason not to approve the judge's recommended order, they could still fire Quiller, but she could appeal the firing.
If the School Board approves the recommendation, it will be tasked with determining when Quiller would be reinstated.
Schaap released this statement to News4Jax:
"Since there are so many outstanding issues, Ms. Quiller wants to respect the process and is not in a position to make a comment at this time."
The school district said that the School Board will set a hearing date to vote on Quiller's future within the next week.