JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — A special education teacher is suing a colleague and the Richland School District in Crest Hill, alleging that she was called fat and treated cruelly in front of students.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the lawsuit filed in Will County by teacher Christine Roche alleges emotional distress and a hostile work environment. Roche says she is now on leave and is accepting temporary disability, dealing with acute adjustment disorder ad post-traumatic stress disorder.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Roche’s suit alleges teacher Tina Behnke screamed at her in front students who back her story. They say Benhke told Roche looked fat and pregnant, and at one point said, “Well, if I looked like s**t, I’d want to know.”

A complaint was filed last year. Richland School District 88A spokesman Michael Early said Behnke’s comments were “unprofessional, inappropriate, perhaps even cruel.”

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Behnke wrote an apology letter, according to the lawsuit, and Roche was reassigned to the elementary school. A few days later, though, Roche said she learned from Newman she’d need to continue working with Behnke’s students.

Early told Roche she would have to avoid direct contact with Behnke and coordinate lesson plans through a third-party teacher.

No court date for Roche’s lawsuit has been learned.

The Aurora Beacon-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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