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Court orders Duval County teacher to be reinstated

Appeals court rules teacher's termination violated terms of union contract

Joyce Quiller
Joyce Quiller

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Duval County math teacher fired last year must be given her job back, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Joyce Quiller, 51, received a termination letter from the school district in February 2014 over allegations she led a profanity-laden classroom at Bridge to Success, an alternative program at Ribault High School. An investigation showed she called one student the N-word.

Last August, an administrative judge found the school board did not follow the disciplinary process agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement with the union and recommended Quiller be reinstated.

When the school board rejected that recommendation, Quiller's lawyer appealed.

On Wednesday, the First District Court of Appeal ruled the School Board must reinstate Quiller.

DOCUMENT: Joyce Quiller vs. Duval County School Board

The court found that, under the terms of the contract, Quiller should have been suspended without pay before being terminated unless it was a severe act of misconduct, which the court ruled the use of inappropriate language was not severe misconduct.

According to the original complaint, Quiller is a foul-mouthed math teacher who told students they were stupid and ignorant and that she 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?"

Since 2001 there have been three incidents in which the 21-year educator was given either a verbal or written reprimand for inappropriate language with students.

Quiller's attorney said last year that she was eager to get back into the classroom.