Virginia school administrator says she was harassed and expelled for questioning critical race theory

A former Virginia school administrator is suing her county school board for creating an atmosphere of racial division and harassment that forced her out of her job.

Emily Mais was vice-principal at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School in Charlottesville until her resignation in September 2021 after raising concerns about mandatory teacher training based on race.

After questioning the Albemarle County School District’s “anti-racism” curriculum, But was harassed, slandered and humiliated by officials, according to the lawsuit filed against the Albemarle County School Board last week by Alliance Defending Freedom.

His lawsuit argues that the program teaches critical race theory, which attributes negative characteristics to individuals based on their race and embraces the ideas that white people have rights and only white people are capable of being racist:

The program sets up a classic Catch-22, in which a white person’s objections to program content are simply evidence that he or she is a racist who needs further training on the program. Unfortunately for her, Ms. Mais was caught in this Catch-22.

When Ms Mais complained about the scheme and protested the reverse racism, she was branded a racist, harshly and pervasively harassed, relentlessly humiliated and ultimately forced to resign from a job she loved to preserve his mental health.

During a training session on the racial makeup of school district employees, according to the lawsuit, But accidentally used the term “people of color” instead of “people of color,” which is the phrase used by the policy “anti-racist”.

Although Mais immediately apologized for her “slip,” according to the lawsuit, she was “verbally abused” in front of all in attendance and called a racist.

The lawsuits say multiple employees told Mais that they heard co-workers “openly slander” her at work, “openly insult her and call her vulgar names at work, tell other employees she was a racist and that she was intentionally putting black people down, and trying to turn other employees against her.

The insults, which included calling Mais “that white racist bitch”, caused her too much distress to do her job, and she quit. The lawsuit alleges the harassment led Mais to experience physical symptoms including panic attacks, hives, rapid heartbeat, depression and hyperventilation.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, won the election in November in part because he highlighted the dangers of critical race theory and other divisive political ideologies in the state’s public schools .

“As an administrator, I have a duty to uphold policies that protect my students and serve their best interests. I also have a commitment to all of their families,” Mais said in a statement provided to The daily signaladd:

I took great pride in my responsibility to support the faculty and staff under my care in a way that fosters a work environment of unity and acceptance, not hostility and division. I believe that every person is made in the image of God and is entitled to equal treatment and respect.

For this reason, I have chosen not to participate in teaching students, teachers, or staff to treat each other differently based on skin color. Unfortunately, relying on this principle cost me my job. But if I can help shed light on all the other teachers and parents who have been vilified for telling the truth, or who are fighting against this work like I have, and bring about the necessary changes, it will not be in vain.

But was only doing her duty as a teacher to speak out against discrimination and advocate on behalf of students and staff, said Kate Anderson, senior attorney at Alliance Defending Freedom and director of its Center for Parental Rights.

“When her school adopted a discriminatory policy towards students, she expressed her concerns about this and in particular about the hostile environment she felt it created for students and teachers,” said said Anderson. The daily signal in a telephone interview.

“Because she spoke out, her school subjected her to this hostile environment and created what is essentially a campaign of harassment against her that ultimately pushed her out of a mission she loves,” Anderson said.

Alliance Defending Freedom is a Christian legal organization focused on protecting Americans’ religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and sanctity of life.

But has worked in education since 2005, including as an elementary art teacher for seven years in the Washington, DC area, before moving into administrative roles.

The lawsuit alleges that the school district in Albemarle County, about two and a half hours southwest of Washington, violated Mais’s freedom of speech under the Virginia Constitution and forced her to affirm ideas contrary to his convictions.

Albemarle County Public Schools spokesman Phil Giaramita said The daily signal that the district has yet to review the lawsuit.

“Our only information on this lawsuit is what has been reported in the media. We have not yet been officially served and have not had the opportunity to review the claims in detail,” Giaramita said.

“We look forward to having this opportunity at some point in the future when we have been served and also having the opportunity to respond to these allegations within the appropriate legal framework,” he said.

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Martha K. Merrill