A veteran biology teacher and tennis coach at Fairfield Ludlowe High School is being sued by a female student who contends he assaulted her and subjected her to sexual harassment and a hostile school environment. John Honey, a teacher at Warde High for 37 years before moving across town to Ludlowe in 2004, is named in the suit, along with the school district, by the minor and her mother.
When contacted, Honey said he had not yet seen the lawsuit and had no comment. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Margaret Mary Fitzgerald said school officials would not comment since the matter is considered a personnel issue. Honey, who has not been charged criminally, is still teaching and coaching at the high school. Police confirmed that they did receive a complaint about the matter, but after an investigation by the Youth Bureau, said they were unable to substantiate a crime had been committed. According to the lawsuit, on two occasions during the 2010-11 school year, Honey kissed the student — once at his desk in the classroom and the second time in a third-floor hallway. On that occasion, the suit claims, Honey “intercepted Sally Doe as she was walking down the hall, grabbed her head and kissed her forehead. This incident was witnessed by two teachers, one of whom reported it to administrators who took no action.” Honey told the student, while discussing a poor grade she received, “that you could be a stripper,” according to the lawsuit. He also often made jokes of a sexual nature in the classroom and put his hands on other female students, she claimed. The suit contends that Sally Doe saw the teacher put his hand on the leg of another female student, who was wearing leggings, “and asked her if she had painted them on her legs.” Despite reporting this information to administrators, the lawsuit claims, school officials did not notify the state as required by law, nor did they take any action to protect the plaintiff and other female students from Honey. “Defendant Honey’s classroom was so permeated with sexual hostility that Sally Doe found herself unable to endure being in that classroom,” according to the lawsuit, and the school district failed or refused to provide her with an alternative to studying biology with Honey. She was issued a failing grade at the end of the semester because she did not return to Honey’s classroom. Excerpts from Connecticut Post Article, Genevieve Reilly