Teacher claims she was fired over bathroom fight

August 3, 2011 2:19:05 PM PDT
Eighty years old and she still wants to teach, but Lillie Leon says she was forced out all because of her kids taking potty breaks.

"That's my passion, I love teaching. Children gravitate to me," said Leon.

Leon has been teaching for 34 years, so when she lost her job at PS 117 in Briarwood, Queens, she was heartbroken.

"Taking me out of the classroom not only did it hurt me it hurt the children," she said.

Leon was responsible for 25 kindergarteners.

She says she didn't have an aide and she was the only kindergarten teacher without a bathroom in the classroom.

So each time one child had to use the restroom, she had to march the group of four and five year olds across the building.

"Every time someone has to go to the bathroom the entire class had to go across the building it didn't make sense," said Leon's lawyer, Stuart Karlin.

Leon says she asked for a space with a bathroom but was offered one on the third floor.

She argued it was unsafe for her to escort the kids down three flights during a fire drill or worse a real fire.

Keep in mind she has leg problems and walks with a cane.

The grandmother of four was making just over $100,000 a year and didn't have any past disciplinary problems in her file.

So the Cambria Heights woman is suing the city in federal court for discrimination, but she says all she wants is to go back to the classroom for just one more year before retiring.