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Richmond County school board denies discriminating against teacher

Court filings deny any discrimination

Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 12:21 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 12:54 AM
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The Richmond County Board of Education said officials did not discriminate against a white teacher or create a hostile working environment while she was working at Tobacco Road Ele­men­tary School, according to court documents filed in response to the teacher’s June 26 lawsuit.

Former teacher Ashley Tyson alleges her teaching mentor repeatedly called her “little white girl” and “cracker” around students and faculty members. The board said her claims are false.

The school board asked the U.S. District Court to strike portions of the lawsuit in court documents filed Aug. 23. The board denies any allegations of racial discrimination and said Tyson made errors in filing her complaint with the court.

Tyson says the harassment took place during the 2008-09 school year, her first year of teaching third grade at Tobacco Road. She resigned May 27, 2009.

In her lawsuit, Tyson said harassment from her teaching mentor, Deborah Void, who is black, continued through the entire school year.

In one instance, Void told Tyson to “shut up, little white girl,” during an October 2008 faculty meeting, according to the lawsuit. When Tyson reported the incident to Principal Geoclyn Williams, “Williams merely responded that Ms. Tyson needed to solve her own problems,” Tyson claims.

Tyson also accuses Void of frequently telling her that white women “were not good in bed,” were “taking black men” and were “trying to take our jobs.”

The lawsuit says Void also made race a factor in Tyson’s job assessment, saying “the little white girl can’t teach no black students” and “little white girl can’t control black students.”

Tyson said that she reported the harassment to her principal and school board Human Resources Director Norman Hill several times but that no corrective action was taken. She filed an incident report with the board and the Department of Public Safety and Security after Void allegedly slammed Tyson into a wall and called her the devil in front of several students.

Before filing the lawsuit, Tyson received a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Em­­ploy­­ment Opportunity Com­mis­sion, a federal agency that enforces and investigates discrimination complaints. Attorneys for the school board acknowledged the letter but said in their response that the EEOC “made no finding of discrimination or retaliation or harassment against the Board.”

School board attorneys Pete Fletcher and Troy A. Lan­ier took issue with Ty­son’s demand letter, which was written by an attorney before the lawsuit was filed on her behalf. It does not set forth Tyson’s claims in numbered paragraphs and the paragraphs are not limited to individual circumstances, the attorneys state.

The demand letter also does not comply with the Fed­e­ral Rules of Civil Proce­dure because it doesn’t have allegations that are simple, concise and direct, according to the board’s filing, they said.

Documents indicate Tyson will represent herself if the case goes to trial.

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No_Longer_Amazed
5143
Points
No_Longer_Amazed 09/10/12 - 12:58 pm
8
0
Technicalities, not substance.

I read this to indicate that the response challenges technicalities in the demand letter and not the facts of the case. It will be interesting to see what happens in the proceedings.

Granddaddy John
101
Points
Granddaddy John 09/10/12 - 01:36 pm
0
1
THEY DO THAT ALL THE TIME
Unpublished

THEY DO THAT ALL THE TIME THATS WHY MOST OF THE GOOD WHITE TEACHERS HAVE LEFT RICHMOND COUNTY SCHOOLS I KNOW OF 3 MYSELF.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 09/10/12 - 02:51 pm
5
1
We've done a 180 turn

... from the beginning of the last century when it was widely held, "The black man has no rights a white is bound to observe."* Payback by those who never suffered against those who never offended.

* Paraphrased; couldn't use the original quote b/c of offending the censors.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 09/10/12 - 02:54 pm
4
1
"... the EEOC ...made no finding of discrimination..."

Anyone know the racial/gender makeup of the panel that came to that finding?

dichotomy
33017
Points
dichotomy 09/10/12 - 04:24 pm
8
0
From the white teachers I

From the white teachers I have talked to, this is typical, widespread, and, if fact, fairly minor compared to some of the blantantly racists things going on the the RC school system. They are in control which means they can hide, coverup, and deny this kind of stuff but they can't hide from the results......bottom of the barrel.

MarinerMan
2107
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MarinerMan 09/10/12 - 04:29 pm
4
0
What Really Chaps Me
Unpublished

What really chaps me is that Deborah Void is still employed by RCBOE. And as No_Longer_Amazed stated, this smells of "technicality" fishy to me. The lawyers need to go chase an ambulance. This case has merit, and they know it.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 09/10/12 - 06:27 pm
2
0
Wow!!!

Finally County Government employees, who actually understand it is a good idea to deny allegations, at least in the paper.

So maybe they're not telling the truth, and there too many witnesses. But at least they are making the Lawyer earn his fee and not handing it to him on a silver platter.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 09/10/12 - 06:56 pm
0
1
If Mr.
Unpublished

Barnes is part of the decision, I'm not in the least surprised. I'm not suggesting he's racist. I just believe he despises white people. Now, that's just my opinion.

itsanotherday1
43298
Points
itsanotherday1 09/10/12 - 09:14 pm
4
0
Another good reason to

Another good reason to monitor classrooms with audio/video.

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 09/11/12 - 05:40 am
1
1
Chicago, Chicago, one hell of a town
Unpublished

You kept us down, no we'll keep you down. Ah, the similarities between America's sister cities. Augusta, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Milwaukee, etc. All entitlement/welfare centers. All Democratic strongholds. Wonder who is keeping who down?

You don't find any of this in Denver. Wonder why Obama loves Denver so much? Who does Obama meet in Denver under the "international airport"?

avidreader
3222
Points
avidreader 09/11/12 - 05:47 am
2
0
When the Smoke Clears!

I would consider it wise to hold off on any defamatory remarks until all the smoke has cleared in this case. Many people who post comments in this venue are eager to condemn others without having a shread of knowledge concerning the truth. The racial divide is deep enough in Augusta without the unsupported, stinging commentaries on this blog.

REMEMBER the rebuttal to these accusations from two white teachers at Tobacco Rd. school? It wasn't long ago, on this blog site. They heartily defended Ms. Void and their Principal. I have been around education long enough to know that one should not pass judgment without hearing all the facts.

There's a lot more to this story than we know, and I'm willing to listen; how about you?

Jake
32570
Points
Jake 09/11/12 - 11:30 am
0
0
Voice of reason

@avidreader, well said. BTW, I have a daughter employed by the RCBOE and she can attest to some of the things that are mentioned in the article, not in regards to this case, but to things in general.

Rather
56
Points
Rather 09/11/12 - 12:29 pm
0
0
Could it be true?

We have to wait and see, but I have seen this occuring myself on other occasions. But, I believe her claims are true.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 09/11/12 - 01:04 pm
0
0
Seems Like There..............

should have been plenty of witnesses if incidents occurred in a faculty meeting or in a hallway. Keep watching for more episodes!

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