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But two jurors have told The Salt Lake Tribune they believed Jensen failed to provide enough proof of discrimination. However, they praised her work and said she didn't deserve to lose her job.
"It appeared to us that she was a good teacher and I hope that she gets back into a classroom," a male juror said.
The two jurors asked to remain anonymous, saying they did not want to be harassed about the verdict. They were part of a panel of eight women and four men that on Monday unanimously rejected Jensen's claim that she was fired because she is a woman and not a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The evidence included a discussion at a district board meeting about the teacher's fondness for Halloween and her supposed preference for "the dark side," noted the request for a new trial filed with U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball.
"This can be nothing but a reference to what is considered by all Judeo-Christian religions to be an aberrant belief system," Jensen's attorneys wrote.
They also argue the district's lawyer made inflammatory remarks during closing arguments, when he said the lawsuit was an attack on the LDS faith and that the former teacher was prejudiced against rural Utahns.
The attorneys contend the defense also falsely told jurors that both versions of minutes of a key district board meeting were provided to Jensen in a timely manner. One version included notes about a discussion of the "dark side" rumors; in the other, the comments had been edited out.
Kirk Gibbs, one of the lawyers representing Sevier School District, denied the allegations and predicted there would be no new trial.
Jensen filed suit after her contract at South Sevier High School in Monroe, where she had taught for three years, was not renewed at the end of the 2002-2003 school year. The legal action said although officials contended they were reducing the work force by dismissing Jensen and another teacher, two new instructors were hired to teach English.
Jensen, of Marysvale, had sought back pay and unspecified damages.
District officials countered that they were concerned about falling test scores and Jensen's teaching of core curriculum, such as grammar.
During the six-day trial, witnesses talked about rumors in the community that Jensen believed in witchcraft and even kept blood in a refrigerator at the school. Minutes of a meeting where district board members approved a recommendation by Superintendent Brent Thorne to fire Jensen showed a discussion of the "dark side" rumors.
Thorne and another district official later edited that part out of the minutes, which they described as an effort to correct a false implication that those allegations were the reason for the dismissal.
Jensen's lawyers argued that the deletion was a cover-up and that district officials were using code words such as "witch" to say the teacher was different - a non-Mormon. They said the rumors stemmed from Jensen's lessons on different belief systems in the world, such as Judaism and Islam, to give students background on the works of literature they were studying.
At trial, Jensen testified that she was raised Mormon but no longer has a religion, and said she is not a witch.
Despite their verdict, the two jurors said Jensen was mistreated.
"The fact that we did not find there was evidence of illegal discrimination does not imply that we did not see problems with practices of the district and school board," the male juror said. "Nor does it mean that we felt that the release of Mrs. Jensen was just, simply that there was no evidence of illegal discrimination."
A female juror said Jensen was an exemplary teacher who made her students work hard.
"We all felt she was done wrong," she said. "They (district officials) lost out. They did themselves a dirty deal by not renewing her contract."
However, she said, proof of discrimination "was never blatantly there. We had to follow the law. You can't go on your gut feeling. We all felt bad," she said.
They said the jury - made up of people of different religions, ages, educational backgrounds and marital status - decided almost immediately there was no gender discrimination. But the question of religious discrimination stretched out their discussions, from noon Monday until 9:45 that night.
The male juror said school districts need a system to get rid of ineffective teachers, but that it should be harder to dismiss good teachers.
"I don't think anyone was a winner in this case," he said. "I, for one, hope that all of us might examine our motivations more closely. I also hope that the process of letting people go in the schools might be more definitive, and not force people to look to discrimination for a cause."