African-American Teacher Sues Palm Beach School District For Discrimination

News Palm Beach County Schools

Delray Beach’s Plumosa School Of Arts Principal Named In Suit

DELRAY BEACH, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A lawsuit filed by former Plumosa School Of the Arts television production teacher Melissa Williams alleges discrimination by the school’s principal, Cathy Reynolds. Former assistant principal Diana Fernandez is also named.

The suit claims that Williams was subject to undue discipline and administrative monitoring in a campaign to replace her with another teacher.

According to the suit:

“This is a hostile environment and tangible-job-detriment claim action by Melissa Williams, an African-American television production teacher at Plumosa School of the Arts, a primarily white (both Hispanic and non-Hispanic) elementary school, the curriculum of which includes visual, Performing and Communication Arts…Ms. Williams, who has been a full-time member of the faculty for three prior years, was subjected during the 2015-2016 school year to harassment and the complication of a false paper trail as the Anglo principal and Cuban-American vice principal prepared to replace Ms. Williams with a non-Hispanics white woman who with a broadcast-journalism background, but little experience in actual television production, who had been a teacher at one of the principal’s prior schools. The principal capped Ms. Williams’s last year with a do-to-hire Employment Reference. Ms. Williams seeks back wages, compensatory damages, injunctive relief and her attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.”

Among several allegations, the suit claims that administrators accused Williams of having time management issues. It states she was wrongly accused of promoting her private dance and tutoring business at school. Williams says she was reprimanded for failing to work as a ‘hall monitor’ during time she was supposed to be producing the ‘morning announcements.” The suit states administration accused or her being ‘untruthful and unethical.”

States the suit:

“Ms. Williams has suffered emotional distress, embarrassment, inconvenience and other economic and non-economic damages and will continue to suffer additional losses in the future.”

“The harassing conduct by Ms. Reynolds and Ms. Fernandez occurred on such a regular basis and was sufficiently serious or pervasive to negatively affect the terms and conditions of Ms. William’s employment and to unreasonably interfere with her job performance as more particularly alleged above.”

You can read the entire suit below. It was just filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

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