Media Contact

March 12, 2024

PHILADELPHIA – The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has settled a lawsuit against the Central Bucks School District over the district’s wrongful suspension of teacher Andrew Burgess in May of 2022.

In April of that year, Mr. Burgess filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights at the behest of one of his students and the student’s family. The student is transgender, and school administrators had repeatedly failed to address targeted harassment by the student’s classmates.

The district responded by suspending Mr. Burgess in May, informing him that his employment status was under review. The district then hired lawyers with a history of anti-LGBTQIA+ statements and work from the law firm Duane Morris LLP to conduct an “investigation” into the events leading to Burgess’ suspension. The Duane Morris lawyers never spoke to any students, but their report nonetheless included numerous false allegations about Mr. Burgess’ support of his students. 

“In the Central Bucks School District, voters made clear their preference for a school board that supports all students and inclusive education,” said Mike Lee, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “Now, a beloved teacher will be able to resume his career and reclaim his reputation.”

Terms of the settlement include correcting the false allegations in Mr. Burgess’ personnel file, removing the Duane Morris report from all district-maintained websites, and immediately reinstating Mr. Burgess. The district also agreed to pay Mr. Burgess $100,000 in damages, plus his attorney fees.

“This settlement is a win for Andrew Burgess and for teachers everywhere who fearlessly defend their students’ right to be their full, authentic selves,” said Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “We are pleased that the district’s new leadership has recognized that Andrew Burgess’s work to create a welcoming and nurturing environment for all students, regardless of who they are or their personal circumstances, is one of the school community’s greatest assets.”  

“The support I have received from union members, former students, and members of the community has been instrumental and often overwhelming,” said Andrew Burgess. “I am hopeful that this can be an opportunity for Central Bucks to develop a greater institutional courage, to treat all staff members with respect, and to create safe school environments for all students. I stand in solidarity with everyone fighting back against this national campaign to harm trans children and intimidate educators.”

Read the full settlement at