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Female teacher, 47, battles high school for accusing her of turning teen student lesbian
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By Peter Rugg
PUBLISHED: 20:09 EST, 9 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:49 EST, 9 November 2012
Ruined: Juliet Hibbs said the school district ruined her career after accusing her of potentially contributed to a girl's homosexuality
A straight teacher at Florida's Deerfield Beach High School is battling her school district over its handling of an accusation she helped turn a young girl lesbian.
Hibbs has filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the district as well as the school's principal and the assistant principal.
Juliet Hibbs, 47, was investigated last year for misconduct when the student's parents complained to the school principal that she should have notified them of their daughter's orientation and may have even contributed to her homosexuality.
Hibbs told the Sun-Sentinel she was 'shocked' not only by the charges but by the principle's decision to let the district investigate the matter.
The district cleared her and took no action in the complaint.
According to the district's investigative report the trouble began last year while the unnamed student, 18, was in Hibbs' class.
After her stepfather discovered she was a lesbian, he began posting a tirade of incendiary messages on her Twitter feed.
'As each message came, she got smaller...I watched her get destroyed,' Hibbs said.
She reported the incident as child abuse and cyberbullying. The student never returned to her parent's home.
Parents told investigators they were angry with Hibbs for not notifying them of their daughter's sexual orientation and accused her of possibly contributing to the girl's homosexuality.
Scandal: A straight teacher from Deerfield Beach High has is fighting administrators for investigating whether she had a hand in turning a teen student into a lesbian
However the teen said an abuse counselor advised her that she didn't have to go home because she was of age.
The girl also dismissed her parent's allegations about Hibb's influence arguing that a straight woman couldn't turn someone into a lesbian.
Gay and lesbian community advocates also called the charges laughable.
'A teacher doesn't determine the sexual orientation of a student,' said Dr. Katharine Campbell, director of clinical services at SunServe in Broward County, which works with gay youth.
Campbell said teachers should be able to help
students find themselves without fearing for their jobs.
Hibbs said the complaint should have been handled by the school and she believes the district investigation was an attempt to bully her for being outspoken.
Bully: More than half-a-dozen teachers have complained that Deerfield principal Jon Marlow mistreats them
'My career has been ruined. Before Deerfield, I had an impeccable record,' said Hibbs.
An educator with 10 years of experience, Hibbs is now on medical leave and says stress over the prolonged investigation has caused her several health problems that will likely keep her from teaching again.
The school's principal, Jon Marlow, has not responded to interview requests.
Hibbs isn't alone in her claims of district bullying. Over the summer roughly half a dozen teachers spoke out
about mistreatment at the school.
No formal investigation against Marlow was ever launched but Superintendent Robert Runcie said he would look into the matter.
Regardless of her complaint's outcome, Hibbs posted to her Facebook page she would be running for the school board in the next round of elections to help clear up what she called a corrupt district.