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A Maryland school superintendent has accused its school board of racial discrimination, citing numerous examples in a federal complaint she filed in December. The move by Queen Anne’s County Superintendent Andrea M. Kane represents an initial step toward a federal lawsuit.

Kane is the first Black school superintendent in the county. She has described simmering tensions with the all-white school board during her tumultuous four years leading the school’s district, which is 85% white. A 30-year veteran working in public schools as an educator and administrator, Kane said she will not seek to have her contract renewed when it concludes at the end of June.

Tensions escalated, hostile work environment

In her complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Kane cited more than 20 instances that exemplified the school board’s hostile and discriminatory behavior toward her and others. Kane’s allegations include:

  • The school board subjected Kane to discrimination and a hostile work environment.
  • Upon seeking a meeting with the then-school board president in 2018, she received a profanity-laced text message.
  • A senior school administrator made disparaging comments about Black people and sought input from school board members on how to fire Kane. She later terminated this official.
  • Two school board members defaced the photo of an award-winning Black teacher.
  • The school board took no action to condemn an administrator’s disrespectful comments about Black individuals.
  • While Kane was on medical leave, the board acted illegally in an attempt to terminate contracts between the district and racial equity groups.

The longtime tensions with the school board came to a head last summer. In her end-of-year school email, Kane brought attention to racial disparities, sought open dialogue on racial matters and noted that racism exists in the school district. She received backlash as well as support from parents in the school district.

Filing a complaint with the EEOC

For those experiencing racial discrimination in the workplace, filing a complaint with the EEOC is often the starting point to seek legal recourse. There are strict deadlines in place to do so, including 45 days for federal employees and 180 days for other employees, although this time limit may be extended by state law in some cases. If you have been the victim of racial discrimination, acting quickly is likely in your best interests.