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Brownsville teacher can return

| Friday, Feb. 5, 2010

A Fayette County high school teacher who was given a 30-day unpaid suspension after someone posted photos of her with a male stripper to the Internet has been told to return to work, effective today.

Brownsville Area School District Superintendent Dr. Philip J. Savini Jr. decided to recall the teacher after a closed-door executive session of the school board last night, said solicitor James Davis. Directors, who met for 90 minutes last night to discuss personnel and litigation, declined comment after the meeting.

Savini imposed the suspension, which was for 30 school days, after someone forwarded the photos to administrators.

School directors had earlier said the photos were taken at a bachelorette party. They said students, and some parents, saw the photos. Although the teacher is fully clothed in the photos, directors said that in one, she is shown in a position suggestive of a sex act.

The district has never publicly identified the teacher.

Davis last night said the teacher is to be back in class today, provided Savini was able to contact her last night. Barring that, or if school is canceled because of a snowstorm that is expected to hit the area beginning at noon, the teacher is to return to class on Monday.

Davis said the district is continuing to investigate the incident.

The school board met in executive session after the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the teacher, gave the board until today to respond to a letter sent Monday. The letter, according to the ACLU's legal director on Pennsylvania, Witold "Vic" Walczak, advised the district of applicable constitutional law.

Walczak on Wednesday said the letter sought to resolve the matter without having to resort to a legal battle.

Support for the suspended teacher includes a Facebook page that has nearly 2,000 members. Two online petitions, available through the Facebook page, have at least 553 signatures.

Directors said in earlier interviews they have heard from parents, as well, who are in support of Savini's decision.

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