Clark County schools settle lawsuit with former teacher

Former teacher Karen Giardina will receive a $185,000 settlement from the Clark County School District for her lawsuit claiming disability discrimination.

The Clark County School Board unanimously agreed Thursday to pay Giardina, who was suspended for more than a year then forced to resign in September 2013 on disability retirement, according to her lawsuit.

Previously, she was a teacher at Ober Elementary School, near Desert Inn Road and Hualapai Way.

She was diagnosed with migraine syndrome, asthma and toxic encephalopathy, which results from exposure to toxic substances, such as lead, and can cause memory loss, fatigue, seizures or depression.

Under doctor’s advice, the district allowed her to teach in a portable classroom, receive her own private bathroom and leave meetings if uncomfortable because of her condition. However, a balloon popped over her head at school in December 2011, causing her to inhale glitter and be taken by ambulance to a hospital emergency room, according to the lawsuit.

She returned to work in February 2012 with her doctor recommending that she wear a filtration mask in the presence of chemical sprays and perfumes. The lawsuit alleged that Ober’s principal refused Giardina’s return if she taught with the mask on.

The district directed Giardina to work from home, stapling packets for the district until March. She was then told to write grant applications from her home, with no previous experience or training.