Non-Spanish-Speaking Teacher Sues Miami-Dade After She's Denied Job That Includes Teaching Spanish UPDATED

An English-speaking teacher says the Miami-Dade County School Board discriminated against her by not hiring her for a job. One requirement of the position? Teaching an hour of Spanish per day. 

Tracy Rosner, a third-grade teacher at Coral Reef Elementary, filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida last week claiming employment discrimination on the basis of her race — which is white.

Miami-Dade School Board attorneys have not filed a formal response in court and did not return calls for comment Thursday. We'll update this post if they provide one.

Rosner's attorneys write that her school's students are on three tracks: college preparatory, gifted, and extended foreign language (EFL), where they receive one hour of foreign language instruction per day. In May 2015, Rosner requested to be reassigned to the EFL track, where students are taught both English and another language.

But Rosner says the principal had an unfair policy of requiring its foreign language teachers to actually speak the language they were teaching. In a totally ¿En serio? moment, Rosner claims that she was "otherwise fully qualified" for the job and that the policy is discriminatory. Her complaint says the school could have given her the job and then just had someone else teach the foreign language component for one hour per day.

After she was denied the job, Rosner says, the school's principal retaliated by doubling her workload and asking her to teach all the subjects instead of just reading and language arts. Rosner apparently complained to the superintendent and even made a formal complaint to the school district's civil rights office, but administrators there found no probable cause and closed the case.

The lawsuit claims that non-Spanish speakers are a minority population in Miami-Dade County and that seeking employment solely from Spanish speakers "disproportionately affects" Rosner and others like her.

"As a direct and proximate result of the retaliation against Ms. Rosner, and the violation of her rights... Ms. Rosner was provided a less desirable position and has damages including emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, [and] loss of enjoyment of life," the lawsuit states.

Rosner did not respond to a message from New Times seeking comment.

Update: After publication, Rosner's attorney, Matthew Dietz, sent a letter to clarify. It stated: "Ms. Rosner was denied a job teaching English Reading and Composition to children in the EFL program in Miami-Dade County Schools. The EFL program has a one-hour Spanish component per day that can be taught by any teacher in the program, and not exclusively the English Reading and Comprehension teacher. By requiring the English teacher to understand Spanish to teach English to English speaking students is the issue." The headline and lead sentence have been updated to reflect this.  
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Jessica Lipscomb is the former news editor of Miami New Times.