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Former employee suing Washington County school system for $500,000

A former David Crockett High School employee is suing the Washington County school system for at least $500,000 after alleged incidents of sexual harassment.
Lawyers for both sides are expected to go into mediation regarding the suit on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
Lynda Tvenstrup, of Jonesborough, originally filed the lawsuit against the Washington County Board of Education in December 2008.
According to the suit, Tvenstrup had been working as an instructional assistant for special education classes at Crockett since 2003. During the 2006-2007 school year, Tvenstrup claims at least two male teachers at the high school were talking about her with each other and students, saying she was a stripper at an area night club.
According to paperwork filed in the case, one of the teachers even offered to install a stripper pole in the shop area of the school so she could practice her moves.
Tvenstrup says she asked the teachers to stop spreading the false rumors and went to then-principal Henry Marable to file a complaint about their actions. Tvenstrup also requested she be moved from hall duty near the teachers.
According to the lawsuit, Marable did not relocate Tvenstrup and failed to put a stop to the harassment.
In March 2007, Tvenstrup went to an attendance officer as well as Assistant Principal Scott Hagy to file another complaint. She did so after a student’s father reportedly approached her and asked her where she worked as a stripper.
During the same month, Tvenstrup claims she found out from students that the school chorus planned to shout her name during a public rendition of the song, “Land of a Thousand Dances.” Tvenstrup once again filed a complaint, this time with the school’s bookkeeper, Johnnie Boswell.
According to the lawsuit, on April 10, 2007, school administrator Roy Gillis met Tvenstrup as she was leaving Crockett and gave her a written notice signed by then-director Grant Rowland. The notice informed Tvenstrup she would be losing her job at the end of the school year.
The lawsuit indicates the position once held by Tvenstrup, who was 60 at the time, was subsequently filled with “a series of younger women.”
According to Tvenstrup, she had never received any negative performance reviews during her time with the school district. Tvenstrup had been employed by the system since 1984, first as a bus driver, then as a substitute teacher and finally as an instructional assistant.
Following her termination notification, Tvenstrup claims office staff at the high school stopped speaking to her and administrators refused to give her work as a substitute teacher, a bus driver or at afterschool athletic events.
According to Tvenstrup, it was only after she filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that school administrators began saying she was the subject of various complaints regarding alleged inappropriate conduct.
The Washington County Board of Education went into executive session with counsel during a called meeting last week to discuss the pending litigation.
According to Director of Schools Ron Dykes, school board members decided to go into mediation with Tvenstrup and her lawyer regarding the lawsuit.
Tennessee Risk Management Claims Specialist George Hunter, who represents the school system, said the mediation is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 26 in Johnson City.
While Hunter refused to comment on the specifics of the suit, he said it was “not unusual” for a case involving sexual harassment to take years before it is resolved.
Dykes also would not comment on the case other than to say it is common for a school district to have two or three pending lawsuits at any given time.