White Teacher Wins In Discrimination Lawsuit Against School System

Katie Frates Editor-in-chief of The Daily Walkthrough
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A jury has sided with a white teacher to the tune of $350,000 in a case of discrimination in Prince George’s County, Md.

Jon Everhart, 65, filed a civil lawsuit against Prince George’s County school board based on a history of discrimination. That discrimination led to his termination — and revocation of his teaching certification — in June 2010, The Washington Post reports. Everhart had taught English at Largo High School since 2003. He was named Teacher of the Year and received multiple perfect job performance evaluations from prior Largo High School principals.

The harassment started in 2003 when Angelique Simpson-Marcus, a gym teacher at the time, reportedly told students, “The only reason a white man teaches in P.G. County is that they can’t get a job elsewhere.”

Simpson-Marcus became Largo High School’s principal in 2007, at which point Everhart said she called him “poor white trash,” and “white bitch.”

Originally teaching honors English to juniors and seniors, Everhart was moved to a freshman class after Simpson-Marcus became principal, The Post said. Everhart filed complaints that were “often ignored” and there was never an investigation by the school system, his attorney, Bryan Chapman, said.

Simpson-Marcus denied the allegations in an interview, “I never said any of those things,” she said. “I don’t use that kind of language.”

The school system declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

Everhart sued in November 2010, and a federal district court judge later ruled that the lawsuit could be recognized as a Title VI claim, which has no cap on damages. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.” Everhart’s attorney argued that the school board violated Title VI because it received federal stimulus money in 2008.

The jury sided with Everhart on the discrimination claim, but not on his claim of a hostile work environment. The $350,000 is for compensatory damages for heart problems and high blood pressure Everhart said were a result of his treatment. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte will decide how much Everhart receives for back pay and benefits.

“Justice was served,” Everhart said. “I do feel as though I have been vindicated.”

In late July, a group of black protesters gathered outside a newly-built school to protest the hiring of a white teacher to teach African-American, Latino and Southeast Asia studies. (RELATED: WHITES NEED NOT APPLY: Black Leaders In Fresno Oppose White ‘Cultural Studies’ Teacher)

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