Teacher sues over damage caused by yelling at students
A QUEENSLAND primary school teacher who claims she damaged her voice yelling at children is suing Brisbane Catholic Education for more than $700,000.
Kim Therese Ann Jones, 61, from Pottsville, NSW, claims that she first got "muscle tension dysphonia" - when your voice goes hoarse from trying too hard to talk loudly - in 2003.
But Ms Jones alleges her vocal chords were injured a second time when she worked at Marymount Primary School at Burleigh Waters and that it caused her to also develop depression.
She was diagnosed with an "aggravation or exacerbation of muscle tension dysphonia" in February 2017 and is seeking $705,588 in the Brisbane District Court for negligence and breach of contract against Brisbane Catholic Education.
The school argues, in its defence filed in court, that Ms Jones was fairly compensated for her 2003 injury when she received Workers Compensation payments in 2005.
Ms Jones argues she re-injured her voice because the school continued to give her normal class sizes and failed to accommodate medical advice which required her to only teach small groups, court documents state.
Ms Jones also alleges the school continued to require her to do playground supervision duties. The school does not admit or deny this claim.
Ms Jones alleges her doctors told Marymount School principal Greg Casey that she should reduce her "vocal load" by "avoiding the need to project her voice across classrooms or in the playground" and avoiding playground duties, according to her claim.
She says the school only gave her a microphone to use in class.
The school denies it was negligent and says she wasn't qualified to teach small groups as she would need a Masters of Education to do so.
It argues that it has medical evidence which shows that any aggravation in Ms Jones voice condition was not caused by the school's failure to make adjustments to her work, as recommended by doctors.
Court documents state Ms Jones was sacked in December 2018 for failing to perform her job.
In its defence, the school argues that she only suffered muscle tension dysphonia in 2003 and it denies her teaching at the school between 2005 and 2017 aggravated her voice condition or triggered psychological damage.
The school argues her 2017 condition was merely "a continuation of" her pre-existing 2003 voice condition.
On June 10 the District Court issued notices to Ms Jones' doctor demanding they hand over medical records, tests and reports, on behalf of lawyers for Brisbane Catholic Education.
The damages claimed by Ms Jones includes $156,000 for past loss of income, $371,700 for loss of future earning capacity, $50,000 for future medical expenses and $40,000 for lost superannuation.
The case is in court on July 6.