A white school teacher in New Jersey has settled a discrimination lawsuit with her public school district employer for $45,000 — and a promotion.
The teacher-plaintiff is Renee Marie Irwin, reports New Jersey radio station WKXW.
The main defendant in the lawsuit is the Pleasantville Board of Education in Pleasantville, a town of 20,755 people just west of Atlantic City.
Irwin, who began her Pleasantville teaching career in 1997, claimed that school district officials passed over her application to become an assistant principal for at least a decade, giving the position to “less qualified African-American teacher(s)” instead.
She first applied to be an assistant principal in 2003 at an alternative school but the job went to a “less qualified African-American teacher,” the lawsuit claims.
Later, in 2007, after Irwin had taken an assistant principal job in another district, Pleasantville officials again turned her assistant principal application down. The job went to a black person who, once again, Irwin’s suit claims, was less qualified than Irwin was.
In 2013, Irwin tried again for an assistant principal job but, she said, the job went to a black candidate with zero administrative experience.
Irwin’s failed application for an assistant principal position in 2014 could have been the one that really sent her over the edge. That time, she lost out to a black woman who never took the job because, Irwin’s lawsuit claimed, the woman was having sex with one of the people who chose her for the job.
Irwin also claimed that Pleasantville school officials refused to investigate her discrimination claims. Further, she said, an official informed her that the district has maintained “a long-standing practice of reverse racial discrimination” which, in practice, “systematically” gives management jobs only to black people, according to WKXW
Irwin and the school district agreed to the confidential — “confidential” — settlement in December. A blog called NJ Civil Settlements revealed the settlement this week.
Documents from the lawsuit including the complaint and the confidential — “confidential” — settlement are available here.
Irwin has also gotten the promotion she sought for so long. She is the assistant principal at Leeds Avenue Elementary School, according to the school’s website.
That promotion was part of the settlement agreement. However, the position is only good for one year and her employment must be renewed.
The population of Pleasantville is 45.9 percent black, according to United States Census Bureau data.