SD2 superintendent returns to old district in California to testify in court

2010-12-07T15:28:00Z 2010-12-08T00:30:04Z SD2 superintendent returns to old district in California to testify in court

By ROB ROGERS

Of The Gazette Staff

The Billings Gazette
December 07, 2010 3:28 pm  • 

Billings School District 2 Superintendent Keith Beeman returned to California last week to testify in a lawsuit a teacher has filed against that district.

Beeman, who was associate superintendent of human resources for the Chino Valley Unified School District before he was hired by SD2 last spring, was named in the lawsuit along with the teacher's principal.

The teacher was suing the district, Beeman and the principal, arguing that they had discriminated against her and harassed her after she discovered she had cancer.

“I went back down to help the school district,” Beeman said. “I was not legally compelled to do so. But it was important to me to help the district.”

Lawsuit settled

By the end of the week, the district had settled with the teacher, ending the lawsuit and exonerating Beeman and the principal.

The teacher had first made the discrimination claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in January 2009.

When Beeman applied to the Billings superintendent post a year later, the complaint had not been resolved and Beeman said he knew it could end up in court.

Trustees were aware of the lawsuit. During Beeman's final interview with the SD2 board in March, he told board members of the complaint and the potential lawsuit and said if it went to court, he would likely return to Chino to testify.

“We knew about it,” said Trustee Joel Guthals. “We understood.”

Wrapping up business

He said the board was happy to allow Beeman to return to Chino and finish his business there.

“When we employ people we understand they may have some remaining obligations,” he said. “We make accommodations so they can honor their responsibility.”

Beeman, back in Billings, said he was grateful to the board for being accommodating. He added that while it was fun to see old friends in Chino, it was good to return to Billings, which he called home.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

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