Shannon Blick has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Ann Arbor Public School District, accusing them of discriminating against her for being white.
According to the lawsuit, Blick endured racial discrimination, was forced into paid leave, stripped of her principal role, and denied her right of free speech.
Blick was hired as principal at Lawton Elementary in September 2013 and the district announced her indefinite leave in a message to parents on May 1.
The lawsuit claims that the district constructively terminated Blick on April 26 when they forced her to take a leave of absence, partly because of her race and because Assistant Principal Taneia Giles, who is black, wanted her position.
Dicken Elementary School Principal Mike Madison told Blick, according to the lawsuit, that the district was investigating her in connection with the theft of $25,000 over four years by a Lawton Elementary School janitor.
The theft rumors circulated at the time of Blick’s departure, but the school district declined to make a comment.
The lawsuit says that Ann Arbor school district officials, “Maintain a custom, policy and practice of: treating Caucasian and nonminority administrators disparately and less favorably than similarly situated African-American and minority administrators; subjecting Caucasian and nonminority administrators to hostility and harassment in the workplace based on their race; accelerating the promotion and advancement of African-American and minority administrators at the expense, and to the detriment, of Caucasian and nonminority administrators.”
When Blick met with Executive Director of Elementary Education, Dawn Linden, and Human Resources Director, Shonta A. Langford, on April 26, they gave her a letter that stated she was put on administrative leave and wasn’t permitted to go on school grounds or communicate with teachers, students or staff.
The suit additionally alleges that Langford sent Blick a text message on April 30 directing her to submit a formal letter of resignation by June 30 to cease any investigation for her failure to stop the theft of the school janitor.
Blick is also asking for her full duties as principal to be restored from the lawsuit.