Federal officials have ordered the Texas Education Agency to pay a former special education director more than $200,000 in damages for illegally firing her.

Laurie Kash filed a federal complaint Nov. 21, 2017, with the U.S. Department of Education, claiming the TEA had illegally awarded a no-bid contract to a company to analyze private records of students receiving special education services.

A day later, the TEA fired her. But state officials said Kash was terminated because employees at a former job filed a civil lawsuit against her alleging she had covered up the sexual abuse of a 6-year-old.

In a decision issued Friday, the U.S. Department of Education said Kash had “met her burden of showing that her protected disclosures were contributing factors” in her termination.

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