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Teacher Sues School For Not Stopping Students From Harassing Her On Twitter

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A teacher is suing her former employer, saying that she was repeatedly harassed by students via Twitter and that the school district made no attempts to stop it. Amy Sulkis was a teacher Warren High School, part of the Downey Unified School District, between 2012 and 2014, according to City News Service. She filed a lawsuit on Monday in L.A. Superior Court, claiming that she was repeatedly sexually harassed and threatened by students via Twitter, and that the administrators did nothing to stop it. She said she eventually became so stressed out by the harassment that she took a leave of absence. She is suing for unspecified damages.

Sulkis said that in March of 2013, a student created a fake Twitter account in which he pretended to be her. She alleges he used the account to make sexually suggestive comments about her, and also to reply with sexual comments to other Twitter users who interacted with the account. Sulkis told school administrators about the account, which a senior student later confessed to creating. He was initially given a two-day suspension, but this was later reduced to one day, which upset Sulkis.

Later that month, Sulkis said another student began using Twitter to threaten her after she told the student's counselor that he had less than satisfactory work habits. She said the student tweeted a photo of an AK-47 with the caption, "I got no tolerance for (expletive) like you."

Again, Sulkis took the matter to school officials. She said they told her to get a restraining order, but declined to do anything else because the student was soon being transferred to a different school. Sulkis then complained to DUSD's assistant superintendent about both the light punishment for the student who made the fake Twitter account and the threatening tweets, and also suggested the district educate students about cyber-bullying. Sulkis said the assistant superintendent responded to her by saying that the district had "investigated and considered the rights of all involved and appropriate discipline had been implemented."

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In April 2014, a former student tweeted another photo of Sulkis that linked to a porn Twitter page. Another student used Twitter to say her class was "the definition of hell." In June of 2014, she alleges that Andrew Mejia, a former student, posted a photo of her with a sexual comment to Twitter. That photo, which has been described as embarrassing, was seen by a majority of the 4,000 students at the school. Sulkis is suing Mejia for defamation.

Sulkis decided to take some time off, saying she did not feel safe at the school. That time off ended up extending to a year.

Her suit alleges that despite knowing about not only her issues with students on social media, but the issues of other teachers as well, the district failed to do anything. "[DUSD] has failed, and continues to fail, to take adequate measures to prevent the continued and repeated harassment of plaintiff and other teachers by students, allowing it to propagate and grow," her suit says.