Ex-Glen Mills staffer: Fired after reporting abuse

Posted: February 12, 2014

GLEN MILLS A former counselor and teacher at the Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County has sued the facility, contending that he was fired after reporting abuse of a student.

Officials at the school for court-referred teenage boys acknowledged an "inappropriate" incident in which a student was slapped in the face, but said it had nothing do with the firing of staff member Shawn MaGee.

MaGee, of Havertown, said in his suit, filed last week in Delaware County Court, that on Dec. 17, 2011, he saw his supervisor, Damian Hangey, hit a student, and he reported the incident to his unit's team leader. However, no action was taken against Hangey, who had falsified log records, McGee alleged.

MaGee reported the incident to higher-ranking school officials, and, fearing retribution, asked for and was granted a transfer. His new supervisor, however, warned that he would be fired if he made further reports about the incident, according to the lawsuit.

On Feb. 2, 2012, MaGee alleged, he complained to the executive director, saying that he was the victim of retaliation. MaGee was fired six days later, according to the lawsuit.

MaGee contends that as a result, he lost pay and benefits, and suffered emotional injuries.

School officials would not discuss the specifics of the case but said McGee was congratulated by the administration for bringing attention to the problem.

The report "was thoroughly investigated by Glen Mills and outside agencies," said Guy Vilim, the school's attorney.

The state Department of Public Welfare found no evidence of child abuse. An internal investigation, however, did document inappropriate discipline, and the staff member involved was fired.

Vilim would neither confirm nor deny that the staffer was Hangey. Efforts to reach Hangey were unsuccessful.

"The end of [MaGee's] employment had nothing to do with bringing forward allegations of improper conduct by other staff," Vilim said.

"This was clearly a retaliation," said Edith Pearce, MaGee's attorney.

The 779-acre complex is off Glen Mills Road in Thornbury Township.

Founded in 1826 as the Philadelphia House of Refuge, the school moved to its current location in 1892. In 1911, the school changed its name to the Glen Mills Schools.


mschaefer@phillynews.com

610-313-8111

@MariSchaefer

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