Newton mother seeks damages for teachers’ strike

As Newton’s teachers and students settle back into their classrooms around the city, one parent is asking a judge to award damages to her family and others.

Lital Asher-Dotan, a Newton mother who recently spoke out publicly against the Newton Teachers Association strike, has filed a motion in Middlesex Superior Court on behalf of herself and her children asking that Newton families be considered for compensation after the two-week teachers’ strike.

In her motion, Asher-Dotan writes that during hearings with the NTA, Judge Chistopher Barry-Smith spoke about “the profound harm to and loss sustained by numerous individuals essentially in the same class as the proposed intervenors, namely, the students of the Newton Public schools.”

“Intervenors” in this case refers to the School Committee.

“Currently pending before the Court is the issue of civil compensatory relief and restitution afforded the Plaintiff-Newton School Committee, payable by the Defendants, stemming from Defendants’ illegal strike, being a violation of the laws of the Commonwealth,” Asher-Dotan’s motion continues. “Under common law, the breach of a duty imposed by statute may create a civil liability to those persons injured or damaged by the breach of belonging to the class whose protection the statute was passed/ In the instant case, the class is the Newton Public School students and their parents.”

Asher-Dotan’s motion is saying that since Judge Barry-Smith said the students were victims of the teacher strike alongside the School Committee, and since money from the union was to be awarded to the School Committee, then money should be awarded to students and their families, too.

“While the court is addressing the compensatory relief and restitution to the Newton Public Schools, that pales in comparison to the loss and damages sustained by Newton Public School students and their families stemming from the illegal strike,” the motion reads.

Asher-Dotan’s motion seeks an evidentiary hearing but doesn’t mention any specific dollar amounts she’s seeking in damages.

Last week, parents asked Judge Barry-Smith to intervene to compel the NTA to end the strike, and their request included notes from students about how the strike was impacting them.