The former principal of an elementary school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is taking the district to court, claiming she was discriminated against and eventually terminated because she’s white.
Shannon Blick, who once headed Lawton Elementary School, has filed a $5 million lawsuit accusing the Ann Arbor Public Schools discrimination, local outlet WDIV-TV reported. The district, its school board and at least six administrators are named as defendants.
In her complaint, Blick alleges she was forced out of her position by African-American administrators to make way for an assistant principal who’d been reassigned there and was eyeing her job. The assistant principal is African-American.
The suit further claims Blick, 39, was forced to go on paid administrative leave in late April before being stripped of her duties and bannned from attending any events on campus — including her child’s recent fifth-grade graduation. Blick said she was even barred from attending a public school board meeting without explanation.
“It doesn’t make a difference if you are white or black, the law still says you can’t use race in an unlawful way,” said Blick’s lawyer Will Tishkoff, adding that the case is a clear example of administrators of color receiving “preferential” treatment.
“I’ve never seen a case this extreme,” he added.
After being placed on leave, administrators allegedly instructed Blick not to contact any students, parents or staff about the matter, and was threatened with discipline or firing if she violated this demand. The suit also claims that when a group of parents planned to speak on her behalf at a school board meeting, Blick was told to make sure they didn’t.
The ousted principal claims she wasn’t allowed to attend the meeting either.
Tishkoff said his client has been “traumatized severely” and remains on suspension, though she’s holding out hope that her job will be reinstated.
“She was never told why she was suspended and told to leave the premises and stop doing her duties on April 26,” Tishkoff told FOX 2 Detroit, before pointing to Blick’s spotless record. “We have her personnel files, and there is no evidence in there that shows basis for suspension.”
The lawsuit adds that the district has a history of “harboring, and acting on, racial animus towards Caucasians and non-minority individuals.”
It’s like “she went from being the star, loved principal — overnight, things changed,” the lawyer said in a separate interview.
In addition to discrimination, Blick claims she was deprived of her federal employment rights, as well as violated her freedoms of speech, petition and association.
When reached for comment, a spokesman for Ann Arbor Public Schools told Atlanta Black Star that the district “does not comment on pending litigation or personnel matters.”
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