State Watch

Former administrator at Virginia school sues, says she was ‘branded a racist’ after objecting to teacher training curriculum

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A former administrator at a Virginia school has sued the Albemarle County School Board in Charlottesville, Va., alleging in a lawsuit that she was “branded a racist” after objecting to a teacher training curriculum which she said embraces critical race theory, or CRT.

Emily Mais, a former assistant principal at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School, filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the county school board. At issue is the board’s use of a teacher training curriculum, which the lawsuit alleges “promotes racial division and encourages racial harassment.”

“The curriculum sets up a classic Catch-22, in which a white person’s objections to the content of the curriculum are simply evidence that he or she is a racist who needs further training on the curriculum,” the lawsuit claims.

“Unfortunately for her, Ms. Mais was caught in that Catch-22,” it continues. “When Ms. Mais complained about the curriculum and protested reverse racism, she was branded a racist, severely and pervasively harassed, relentlessly humiliated, and ultimately compelled to resign from a job that she loved to preserve her mental health.”

The lawsuit also claims that she was mistreated by a teacher’s aide, who is Black, after she claimed she made a “slip of the tongue” after saying “colored” instead of “people of color” during a final training session.

The teacher’s aide “ignored the apology and verbally attacked Ms. Mais for her slip of the tongue during the training and in front of all attendees, accusing Ms. Mais of speaking like old racists who told people of color to go to the back of the bus,” the lawsuit claimed.

Earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed an executive order banning public schools from teaching CRT, which centers the United States’s legacy of institutional racism in making sense of current and past history and is generally taught in higher education circles.

The teaching of CRT, however, has galvanized many on the right, which has led some states to ban it being a part of a school’s curriculum. 

Phil Giaramita, a spokesman for Albemarle County Public Schools, said the school district was in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.

“We actually learned about this suit from the media last week,” Giaramita said in an email to The Hill. “We were not [formally] served until late this week and our in the process of reviewing its claims. Once we have completed our review, we will look forward to responding to these allegations in the appropriate legal forum.”

Updated at 1:49 p.m.

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