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Former District 518 employee files lawsuit against the district

WORTHINGTON — A lawsuit against Independent School District 518 was filed Monday in United States District Court of Minnesota by a former employee who worked for the district for approximately six months earlier this school year.

Karen Abbott, who resigned from her position as District 518 Area Learning Center Special Education Instructor in January, claims the district unlawfully retaliated against her and eventually presented a formal reprimand, which she believes was the ultimate result of her reporting alleged special education violations.

Among a list of claims related to what the lawsuit categorized as Abbott experiencing “extreme emotional distress due to defendant’s actions,” Abbott claims the district engaged in unlawful practices, including “taking adverse action against Plaintiff which materially affected the terms, conditions, and privileges of her employment, and ultimately constructively terminating Abbott, because she reported facts constituting violations of the IDEA.”

District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard said the district had not received notification of a lawsuit as of Wednesday morning.

If legal action is to occur, Landgaard said he would not be able to provide comments on the open case.

According to court documents, a summons was issued Tuesday to the district.

For more on this story, see Saturday's print edition and