A former special education teacher in York has settled a lawsuit she filed last summer against the school department alleging she was subject to discrimination for being gay.

Attorneys for Michele Figueira and the school district both declined Monday to discuss details of the settlement, including any money paid to Figueira or other terms.

There were no documents regarding the settlement available in federal court records Monday other than a notice that one had been reached.

Superintendent Timothy Doak said in an email Monday that “the parties reached a settlement agreement to their mutual satisfaction and will not provide further comment.” In response to a public records request for a copy of the agreement, Doak said the agreement was still awaiting court approval.

The district has denied the allegations in previous court fillings.

Figueira worked at York High School from August 2018 until August 2021, when the school department decided not to renew her contract for the following school year. She filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court in Portland in July 2023, alleging that the school subjected her to a hostile work environment because her supervisor made a series of “degrading and humiliating remarks about her sexuality.”


She said Joelle Coleman, who was not named as a defendant, asked Figueira what “roles” she and her partner had in their relationship and speculated out loud which of their colleagues were gay.

When Figueira reported this to the assistant superintendent, the school failed to take appropriate action and later retaliated by not renewing Figueira’s contract, she alleged.

The Maine Human Rights Commission issued a decision in November 2022 that the school department likely discriminated against Figueira on the basis of sexual orientation.

Figueira also had asked the Human Rights Commission to find that the district had discriminated against her because of a disability, but commissioners voted to reject those claims.

While defending the human rights complaint, an attorney for the school department said the administration had done all it could to address the harassment, discipline the supervisor and offer training to other school leaders.

The school said Figueira’s contract was not renewed because she “was unable to work with her colleagues in a collegial manner, which was disruptive to the education of students.”

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