Confidential settlement reached in Hilton Head Christian Academy lawsuit

A former teacher suing Hilton Head Christian Academy, its headmaster and principal for age discrimination and breach of contract has settled out of court.

Settlement terms are confidential, according to her attorney.

"My client is delighted that the matter has now been resolved," said attorney John Bowen of Hilton Head Island. "The settlement will be reported to the federal court, and the case will be closed."

Julie Bangert, 66, was fired in 2011, according to the suit filed in September in U.S. District Court. It alleged that Headmaster Matt Skinner made demeaning comments and treated Bangert differently than other teachers. A memo from the school's headmaster, though, says she was insubordinate and left students unattended after a field trip.

The suit also says Skinner undermined the teacher's authority by encouraging parents of her students to complain to Melanie Hilton, then the interim lower-school principal, rather than to Bangert, as the school's policies required. Hilton was Bangert's supervisor, and Bangert had sought the permanent lower-school principal position.

Bangert also alleges that Skinner and Hilton fabricated claims about her and asked her to change students' grades.

Skinner and Hilton's attorney, Joseph D. "Trey" Thompson III, denied those claims in court filings and said Bangert's termination "was based on legitimate, non-discriminatory business reasons."

An attempt Friday to reach Thompson was unsuccessful.

The settlement was reached following mediation Friday, Bowen said. Both parties had until April 15 to reach an agreement before heading to trial.

Bangert alleged in a court filing she was the target of a "hit list" maintained by Hilton.

"We obviously deny that anything like that existed," Thompson said in February.

Skinner and Hilton have declined to comment about the case, other than to say they deny all of Bangert's claims.

Bangert sought back wages, compensation for emotional pain and other compensation.

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Lawsuit accuses Hilton Head Christian headmaster, principal of age discrimination: Sept. 20, 2012

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