School official claims Texas school falsified school records in whistleblower case
July 19, 2012
In Fort Worth, Texas, a former assistant principle at Arlington Heights High School is suing the school district after officials fired him for reporting the school for falsification of student attendance records and the misuse of booster club funds.
Joseph Palazzolo of Weatherford was fired on February 14 for what he believes was retaliation for reporting the violations that occurred in 2010, which also include the inappropriate relationship between a supervisor and a coach at the school.
Palazzolo reported that the girl’s athletic directors instead of parents and supporters were maintaining the Heights booster club checkbook and that some of the vendors had not been paid for at least a year. Palazzolo also stated he complained that discipline was unfair to minorities, and that the school was falsifying attendance records to boost the school rating and to increase graduation numbers.
In a response to Palazzolo’s allegations, the Texas Education Agency conducted an audit of one week of school attendance in April 2011, and found that the school had over-reported attendance for some students that week. The finding cost the school district $18,000 in funding.
School officials claimed that Palazzolo was fired for reasons including lying about his criminal history on his application, not disclosing a termination, creating a hostile work environment and aggression toward students. The district investigated some of Palazzolo’s claims and found the allegations to be correct. The district also discovered that Palazzolo singled out minorities for punishment, lied on his job application and falsified a student's disciplinary record.
Along with his current lawsuit, Palazzolo has one other lawsuit pending. After filing the 2010 complaints, Palazzolo claims that he was demoted after being transferred to a different job that paid less. Both lawsuits have been filed in Wise County, Texas.
A whistleblower is defined as someone who witnesses a wrongdoing or illegal action while on the job and reports it to a higher authority.
If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated or retaliated against due to your reporting of an illegal act by your company you have legal rights. Contact our Virginia Employment Law Attorneys for a legal consultation today toll free at 877-544-5323.