A former Virginia school administrator claims she was ‘forced out of her job’ after…
A former Virginia school administrator claims she was ‘forced out’ of her job after a ‘slip slip’ during a racial training drill. Now she is suing the school district.
The lawsuit filed this month by Emily Mais alleges that white employees of the Albemarle County public school system were placed in a “no-win” situation when they participated in racial equity training.
But, a former vice-principal at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School in Charlottesville, says she faced retaliation for questioning the “anti-racism” curriculum designed for educators.
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In November 2020, Albemarle County Public Schools introduced a mandatory online course on the district’s anti-racism policy for teachers, according to Mais’s lawsuit. The formation was based on Glenn Singleton’s Courageous Conversations About Racea manual that provides educators with an understanding of racial equity and the systemic implications of racism.
But Mais, who is white, claims in the lawsuit that “instead of training faculty members to accommodate students of all races, [the Albemarle County School Board] uses a teacher training program that promotes racial division and encourages racial harassment. She also claims the district suggested that if anyone objects to the new training methods, they should find a new job.
During the last training session in June 2021, the lawsuit claims Mais accidentally used the term “people of color” instead of “people of color” when making a comment during the presentation. The lawsuit says Mais immediately apologized for the pejorative term, but was verbally attacked by a teacher’s aide for her poor choice of words. But was then invited to attend meetings with the school guidance counselor, an equity specialist and the district superintendent and assistant superintendents.
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But alleges in the lawsuit that she was specifically targeted because she questioned the training exercise and then accused by colleagues of being racist and needing additional fairness training. In September, she said she was pressured to quit “a job she loved to preserve her sanity” because of the treatment she received from co-workers, according to the lawsuit.
As part of her lawsuit, the former deputy director is seeking back pay, upfront payment and unspecified damages for her “pain and suffering”.
The legal team at Mais, Alliance Defending Freedom – a conservative Christian legal advocacy group – did not immediately return The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Wednesday.
According to the district’s website and its Anti-Racism Mission, Albemarle County Public Schools are “committed to establishing and maintaining an equitable community…to end the predictive value of race and ensure the success of every student and the staff”.
District spokesman Phil Giaramita told The Daily Beast that the school system adopted its anti-racism policy in 2019.
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“We have a strategic plan that talks about values. … Fairness has been important,” Giaramita said. “Our racism policy is very consistent in what we say our principles and values are as a school division. … We are talking about fairness of opportunity. Every student should have the same chance, an equal chance to reach their highest level. That’s really what the policy is designed to ensure.
Mais’s lawsuit equates Albemarle’s anti-racism training with critical race theory and criticizes the program for not teaching the concept of color blindness – which denies cultural diversity – but rather for elevating a “color-conscious” program.
Despite Mais’s grievances, Albemarle County Public Schools says its legal team has yet to formally serve the lawsuit on the district.
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