ELKHART — An Elkhart woman is suing the Elkhart Community Schools alleging it fired her because her husband refused sexual advances from a school principal.
Deann Schuler’s suit, filed this week in U.S. District Court, alleges that her husband, Brett Schuler, left his teaching job at Cleveland Elementary School in July 2013 because he wanted to “extricate himself” from a female principal’s unwanted advances.
To punish him, the principal caused the corporation to fire Deann Schuler from her job in the school’s dietary department in September, the suit alleges.
The suit does not name the principal, but in its reply to the complaint, Elkhart schools states that her first name was “Martha.” The school’s website Friday, Aug. 15, listed Cleveland Elementary’s principal as Martha Strickler. An unrelated Elkhart Truth article from 2011 also lists the school’s principal as Martha Strickler, and Cleveland Elementary principal Martha Strickler wrote an unrelated guest article for The Elkhart Truth in September.
Upon learning of Brett Schuler’s decision to leave the school and to take a teaching job at another school, the principal sent him an email that stated, in part, “YOU. BROKE. MY. HEART!” the suit alleges.
In its reply, the corporation acknowledges that wording in her email, but reports that she also wrote, “However, I am very happy for you and wish you the best!! Martha”.
Schuler’s suit seeks damages, including loss of wages and fringe benefits, emotional distress, humiliation and pain and suffering.
The corporation has denied all aspects of the suit and demanded a jury trial, according to court records.
Neither attorneys for Schuler nor the school corporation were immediately available for comment.