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October 10, 2017 -- Inclusion? Not when liberal blacks assume control. Just ask a former principal from Hazelwood, Missouri. 
photo by Laura Skrivan

Like nearly all black communities in the USA, Hazelwood was literally built by white people. Blacks moved in. Today the St. Louis area city is about 64 percent white and 30 percent black

Former Hazelwood principal claims school district discriminates against white employees

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A former Hazelwood administrator claims that top school leaders are effectively removing white administrators from the district on the basis of their race.

Crystal Reiter, who is white and had 21 years of experience in the Hazelwood School District, was an assistant superintendent for three years before she says she was demoted to middle school principal in 2015, then to a teacher with no school assignment in April of this year.

That last demotion would have meant a more than $55,000 pay cut for Reiter and “a considerable reduction” in her retirement benefits, according to a lawsuit filed by Chesterfield attorney Christopher McDonough. McDonough said other African-American administrators were moved around by the district but did not have their pay cut like Reiter’s was.

Reiter claimed in the lawsuit that she faced a “racially discriminatory and hostile work environment” and was demoted because of her race.

The district released a statement Monday that said it “is committed to providing equal opportunity in all areas of education, recruiting, hiring, retention, promotion and contracted service.”

“The District further commits itself to the policy that there shall be no unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or disability, or any other characteristics protected by law, in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs and activities,” the statement continued. “Employment decisions are based on the best interest of our students, staff, and District.”

Reiter’s lawsuit, which was filed Aug. 25, names the school district, Superintendent Nettie Collins-Hart and Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Julia Burke — both of whom are African-American — as defendants. They were each served a court summons last month.

In the lawsuit, Reiter claims that Collins-Hart and Burke told her on separate occasions that she should look for employment outside the district. The lawsuit claims Collins-Hart told Reiter in a meeting on Feb. 16 that the school board may not renew her contract, and she suggested that Reiter resign.

McDonough claims Collins-Hart and Burke didn’t discuss issues about Reiter’s performance with her, and that Reiter’s job evaluations “had always been glowing.”

He said Reiter also faced racial discrimination under Collins-Hart’s predecessor, former interim Superintendent Ingrid Clark-Jackson, who is African-American. He said Clark-Jackson told Reiter on multiple occasions that, as a white woman, she didn’t know how to work with African-American women, students or teachers. McDonough also said Clark-Jackson assigned Reiter an African-American “coach” to help Reiter learn how to work with African-Americans.

McDonough pointed to four other former white Hazelwood administrators whom he says have also been pushed out in the past year, including John Pukala, former athletics director at Central High School. None of those people have filed lawsuits.

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