In Virginia, a woman who was allegedly forced out of her job as an elementary school administrator has filed a discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, claiming that she faced a “racially hostile” work environment prior to her ouster.
According to the Daily Caller, Emily Mais, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed the suit against the Albemarle County School Board after she claimed to have been “forced” out of her job. Mais, who is White, claims that during her employment, she was “severely harassed and discriminated” against by her coworkers at the Agnor-Hurt Elementary School after she voiced her opposition to “anti-racism” curriculum being imposed on the school.
Mais first raised her objections in February of 2019, when the district rolled out its “Anti-Racism Policy.” The school then held a “mandatory online orientation presentation for all [district] staff to introduce the Policy” in November of 2020. In March of 2021, Mais was ordered to attend another seminar titled “Becoming an Anti-Racist School System: A Courageous Conversation.” During this seminar, the new curriculum declared that racism could only be committed by members of the “dominant race,” in reference to White people.
Kate Anderson, Senior Counsel for the ADF, argued that “instead of training faculty members to embrace students of all races, Albemarle County school officials are using a curriculum that promotes racial discrimination.”
The lawsuit further reveals that during these training sessions, “White staff members attempting to participate were shut down or dismissed in front of other staff members and told they could not understand the topic because of the color of their skin.”
“The training sets up a classic Catch-22,” the lawsuit continues. “It encourages all staff members to ‘speak their truth,’ but when a White person like Emily raises concerns about the divisive content, she is deemed a racist in need of further ‘anti-racism’ instruction,”
Mais said that during the training, she was singled out and harassed by one person in particular: A black teacher named Sheila Avery, who claimed to speak for all black people. At one point, when Mais voiced her concerns about the program, Avery “verbally attacked Ms. Mais…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.” After the incident, the district asked Mais to apologize to all staff members.
The lawsuit further alleges that Mais was informed by other employees that Avery was continuing to slander her behind her back, referring to her as “that White racist b***h” and “That two-faced racist b***h.” When Mais tried to report Avery for harassment, she said no action was taken by school officials.
Mais ultimately resigned from the school on August 29th, 2021. The district subsequently claimed that Mais resigned on her own in order to “explore another career opportunity,” which Mais denies, instead claiming she was forced to resign. She was additionally ordered to make one final apology to all staff members on September 9th, and that she was “not allowed to express any hurt or discomfort from her serial mistreatment by district officials because, as a White person, expressing such emotions would be racist.”
A spokesman for the school district, Phil Giaramita, said that “we have not yet formally been served in this lawsuit so we have not had a full opportunity to review its allegations.”
“If served,” Giaramita continued, “we look forward to addressing these assertions in the appropriate legal forum.”