A teacher and secretary are suing the Omaha Public Schools and a principal, alleging attempts to force them out of a job due to their age and race.
In a complaint filed last month, Field Club Elementary teacher Durlean Crayton and secretary Evie Robinson, two 59-year-old black women, said Field Club Principal Barbara Wild, who is white, targeted their jobs and subjected them to harassment.
“Principal Barbara Wild took two extremely qualified and highly rated fifty-nine-year-old, black professional, female employees with previously distinguished and exemplary ratings and engaged in campaigns to discriminate, harass and retaliate against plaintiffs,” the lawsuit reads.
OPS spokesman Todd Andrews said the district could not comment on pending litigation. District attorneys haven't filed a response to the complaint; they have until the end of the month to do so.
According to the lawsuit, Crayton, at the time the oldest and only black teacher at Field Club, alleges Wild tried to force her into retirement after 30 years of working for OPS.
Crayton argues that she received numerous positive evaluations from past principals, but Wild required her to hand in daily lesson plans for review, visited her classroom daily and ultimately gave her low marks during a subsequent evaluation.
The harassment escalated, the lawsuit says, after Crayton filed discrimination complaints against Wild and Assistant Principal Melany Fullenkamp. Those complaints were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The district did not allow Crayton to retire early with full pay, the complaint states.
Robinson, formerly the lead secretary at Field Club, said she was transferred from her job after confronting the principal about discriminatory behavior, including a negative performance review and allegations of errors. She took a job at Blackburn Alternative High School and was replaced at Field Club by a younger, white employee.
Later, while working at Blackburn, she alleges OPS employees went into her email account and deleted all emails that referred to Wild.
Both women are suing under the Americans With Disabilities, Civil Rights and Age Discrimination in Employment Acts. Crayton seeks $77,000 and Robinson $50,000 for emotional distress, humiliation and damaging their professional reputations, among other things. They seek the removal of all negative evaluations from their personnel files.