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Longtime Pointe Coupee teacher cleared to sue school system by EEOC

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NEW ROADS- A teacher who has spent the past two decades dedicated to the education of students claims her classes were cut and she was sidelined unnecessarily.

Joy Nelson was a teacher at the new STEM academy. She is certified to teach business. After the year ended, she said she was called in and told her services there were no longer needed.

"All they told me was Ms. Nelson the courses are not going to be offered at all to the students," Nelson said. "Thus it eliminates your position, and we don't have any other positions to offer you at the STEM academy."

Nelson claims she is the only African American teacher who had courses deleted from the Master Schedule of Course Offerings. Nelson filed an EEOC charge earlier this summer, and just heard back from them.

The letter she received indicated the EEOC was closing her case due to limited resources, but gave her the green light to sue.

"Our determination not to continue the investigation does not mean that your charge has no merit or that the conduct of your employer is lawful," the letter said.

Superintendent Kevin Lemoine declined to do an on camera interview citing a personnel matter. However he said the letter he received from the EEOC dismissed Nelson's claim. We read to him the letter Nelson provided to us, and explained to him that's not what the EEOC was saying. Instead the EEOC gave her the right to sue.

Lemoine said business courses are no longer offered, so they did not need a business teacher.

However, a job posting obtained by WBRZ shows the School System was advertising for a Business Education Teacher for the 2017-2018 school year at the STEM Magnet Academy of Pointe Coupee. Nelson said that is her job.

Tonight, Nelson said a number of parents and students have told her business classes are still offered under different names.

"They may have manipulated the titles of the courses, but students and parents that I talked to are indicating to me they are teaching the keyboarding skills, and teachers who are not certified are the persons currently teaching it at the STEM academy," Nelson said.

Tonight, she has 90 days to file her lawsuit against the school system according to the letter she received from the EEOC. She intends to file in time.

As she waits for answers, she just wants to get back to the classroom she is certified to teach in.

"My overall goal is to do what is in the best interest of the kids," Nelson said.  "I'm going to do my job to motivate the kids to be all they can become."

Superintendent Lemoine said he was not in the parish today, and said the school system no longer needed business classes because they have since partnered with LSU. Lemoine vehemently denied Nelson's claims that the school is teaching business classes.

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