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District settles school bus crash, employment discrimination cases

A school bus accident and teacher’s discrimination cost the Clark County School District $325,000 in separate settlement costs, which the School Board agreed to pay Thursday.

The district will be paying $100,000 each to Gary and Barbara Henderson, whose vehicle was rear-ended by a school bus. The Hendersons were seeking payment for medical bills, according to district spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson.

She said settling was the best use of taxpayer dollars because the district will pay one amount and won’t be subject to future medical bills.

The district will also be paying $100,000 in damages and $25,000 in back wages to longtime district teacher Cynthia Kappenman-Cohen, ending a lawsuit that reached federal court.

The 54-year-old teacher, hired by the district in 1989, alleged that she was repeatedly passed over for a promotion in 2006 because of a sexual discrimination lawsuit she had previously filed against the district and settled three years earlier, according to her complaint.

The district “has made it clear that they are not going to promote me,” she said. “I am being retaliated against.”

Kappenman-Cohen applied for five positions in 2006.

On four of those occasions, she was the top candidate, but a lesser-qualified candidate was chosen over her, she said.

In the most recent case, an individual with seven years of experience got the position over Kappenman-Cohen, who has 18 years of experience. Kappenman-Cohen was never told why she wasn’t chosen, she said.

The district settled because of the risk of continuing federal court litigation, Fulkerson said. Even though Kappenman-Cohen was seeking $300,000 in damages, she could be awarded more in federal court.

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at
tmilliard@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.

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