Third Teacher Files Discrimination Suit

AP, TheState.com (SC), Aug. 28

CHARLESTON, S.C.—A third former teacher at Brentwood Middle School has filed a federal discrimination complaint, claiming she lost her job at the mostly black school because she is white.

Brandy Stokes, of Goose Creek, said former Principal Wanda Marshall allowed students to harass her, causing the abuse to worsen and for her to fear for her safety.

“The principal condoned and facilitated a racially hostile environment,” said her lawyer, Larry Kobrovsky, a former school board member.

In her complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Stokes wrote that Marshall told her to “accept the students’ behavior because it was part of the students’ culture and background. Ms. Marshall told me that the students did not have parental supervision and that this is the way they were.”

School district spokeswoman Tricia Crimminger said she could not comment on the personnel issue.

Reached at home Friday, Marshall also said she could not comment on Stokes’ employment. “It’s been very painful,” she said about the allegations against her. “I’m not a bad person.”

Stokes taught eighth-grade English at Brentwood only three months. On Nov. 13, 2002, a student punched Stokes in the mouth when she tried to break up a fight. She said the blow broke a tooth, dislocated her jaw and caused her to hit a chair, injuring her spine.

She remained out of school on medical leave until February 2003. When she called Marshall and asked to return to work, Marshall told her she could not come back.

Stokes’ complaint seeks back pay, compensation and another teaching job.

Two other former Brentwood teachers, John Smith and Elizabeth Kandrac, both filed discrimination complaints in April with the EEOC and South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. Both want their job back. Smith also filed a federal lawsuit.

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