EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Another former Oklahoma State Department Employee is planning to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the OSDE after two were filed earlier this week.
Janessa Bointy began working as a counselor for OSDE in 2019 until March when she received a letter telling her of her termination.
“If I would have known that what I was going to say was going to get me fired maybe I would have demanded we speak in private or something,” said Bointy. “But I still would’ve said something because the message itself is important.”
According to a Torte provided by her attorney, it outlines that OSDE fired her three days after a March 6th Edmond Public School Board meeting.
It lists the reasons why as:
- Breach of Confidentiality Agreement
- Violation of the OSDE Media Policy
- Improper use of time and leave
Bointy says she spoke at the March 6th meeting about Project Aware which provides millions of dollars to mental health services in schools throughout the state.
“A young man died just before that meeting after an attempted suicide,” said Bointy. “Project Aware does so much for the mental health of students and that’s who needs it right now. We all need as many mental health services as possible.”
OSDE has up to 90 days to respond to the Torte filed before any action can be taken, according to Bointy’s attorney Leah Porter.
In response to the potential allegation, Justin Holcomb of OSDE responded by saying:
This is yet another example of a baseless claim. Contrary to public servants, these individuals are political activists who have no business being funded by Oklahoma taxpayers. The people of Oklahoma overwhelmingly voted for Ryan Walters during the course of three separate elections last year – as such, this administration will not tolerate pre-existing bureaucrats who are not 100% committed to empowering parents, ending leftist indoctrination, and making Oklahoma’s public education the best in the nation.Justin Holcomb, Oklahoma State Department of Education
“I don’t think it’s baseless or I wouldn’t have the support I’ve received so far,” said Bointy. “The federal government, when they decide to send taxpayer money that we’ve already paid back to our state to support these programs because they deem it necessary. That’s important.”
Earlier this week two other former OSDE employees filed wrongful termination lawsuits aimed at OSDE Superintendent of Schools Ryan Walters. One of those was Cheryl Mcgee who had worked as a manager for Project Aware.
“These services and these people are needed now more than ever,” said Bointy. “I think right now the leaders are the ones that are kind of running the show and running people off. And they’re the ones that I think ultimately are responsible for the hirings and firings that are happening in the department. So, yes, absolutely. Why do you not value mental health?”
Superintendent Walters has said in the past that funding for student mental health services are at the top of his concern.
“I mean, I think that our actions always speak louder than our words,” said Bointy. “And I mean, as far as I can see or anyone else, I would say that at this point it’s just lip service. He has had people that have left the department and you’re not fighting to keep those people or you’re not saying, hey, tell me why you want to quit, Why do you want to leave?”