ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis public school district is suing 32 teachers for breaking their contracts by leaving their jobs early.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the district filed nearly identical lawsuits this summer against teachers who left the district in 2015 or 2016.

Starting in 2015, the district required non-tenured teachers to agree to pay $3,000, plus interest, if they left the district before their annual teaching contracts expired.

The district says it costs $3,000 to search for and hire a replacement teacher.

Attorney Emily Perez said the contracts are not enforceable and suing to collect the $3,000 is unfair to the teachers because they faced stressful, toxic and even unsafe work environments. Perez is representing about a dozen of the teachers who have been sued.

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