A former public elementary school principal in Michigan is suing her former school district after she says she was ousted for being white. The woman had been a principal at the school for five years.
Shannon Blick, 39, was placed on leave by Ann Arbor Public Schools in April. Her lawyers say she had a spotless record, and that she was pushed out to make room for a black assistant principal.
The district allegedly forced Blick out by first installing Taneia Giles as assistant principal and then pressuring Blick to leave her post so that Giles could take over her role, the lawsuit says.
The school district has said that it has not formally received a copy of Blick’s complaint and that it “does not comment on pending litigation or personnel matters,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
But when Blick was asked to be placed on administrative leave May 1, rumors of a far different nature were swirling around the school district. The district was investigating claims that a custodian at Lawton Elementary School, where Blick was principal at the time, had stolen $25,000 from the district through over-billing.
According to the Ann Arbor News, a local police lieutenant has confirmed that: “At this time, [Ann Arbor Police] do not have a report on file referencing over-billing at Lawton.”
But according to Blick’s lawyers, that’s just a cover-up for what they see as “reverse discrimination” against Caucasian and non-minority staff members in the district.
“White people have rights,” William Tishkoff, Blick’s lawyer, told the Detroit Free Press. “So yeah, this is a reverse (discrimination) case. Right now, it’s very timely in terms of what’s happening in our country.”
Blick’s lawyers insist that this follows a pattern of discrimination that white administrators face within Ann Arbor Public Schools.
The lawsuit states that Blick’s treatment is consistent with long-running behavior by the district’s officers and its board of education, which has a “notoriety for inhibiting and stepping on the civil rights of Caucasian and non-minority administrators when African American and minority administrators covet Caucasian and non-minority administrators’ legitimately earned and obtained positions, seniority, pay, jobs or duties.”
The lawsuit, filed against the Ann Arbor Public School District, its board, Superintendent Jeanice Swift and other administrators, is seeking $5 million in damages and that Blick is reinstated in her role as principal of Lawton Elementary.
*see full story by NewsWeek