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Former Lewis teacher sues for emotional damage

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A former Francis Lewis High School special education teacher is asking for $250,000 for emotional damage he says he suffered when school officials failed to prevent students from harassing him, a Board of Education spokesman said.

Vincent Peries, an immigrant from Sri Lanka, filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court against the Board of Education last month on the grounds that he dealt with eight years of agony as students at the Fresh Meadows high school picked on him repeatedly, Board of Education spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

The case went trial last week and jurors were deliberating Tuesday whether to award Peries any money, a spokesman in the city Law Department said.

Peries’ lawyer, Jeffrey Slade, declined to comment or release a copy of the suit. Lisa Grumet, a lawyer for the city, did not return phone calls.

The special education students under Peries’ supervision may have been physically or mentally handicapped or emotionally troubled, Ortiz said. Their behavior would have been more difficult to control than that of other students and, according to Board of Education regulations, they could only be suspended under extreme circumstances, he added.

Francis Lewis High School officials declined to comment on the case.

Reach reporter Brendan Browne by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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