PINE BLUFF, Ark. – The assistant principal for Pine Bluff High School has filed a lawsuit, accusing the district of race discrimination after claiming he was denied promotions and retaliated against.
Assistant Principal Dexter Lee said while working in the district, he discovered policy violations, and it was his complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that led to him to being demoted.
Lee also said he was not given the opportunity to do a job he says he’s more than qualified to do.
“At the end of that year, Superintendent Owoh gave me my non-renewal and officially demoted me in every fashion,” Lee said.
Lee filed a federal lawsuit on May 21 alleging he was discriminated against after questioning the district’s policy for hiring, firing and promotions.
He said this includes his time when he was the human capital officer in 2019.
“People were being recommended for hire. It was going to the board but there was no salary involved,” Lee said. “And then after the board meeting the superintendent would arbitrarily create salaries.”
Lee said he found several violations.
“In our former policy at the time when I was human capital, it was very clear that it did not allow for the superintendent to be arbitrary or capricious in the use of a rift,” Lee said. “But yet over time, we found that that is exactly what was happening.”
In the lawsuit, Lee named the school district in addition to several current and former school administrators. He said he believes the district is in administrative danger.
“I believe that it is of great concern to the staff of the Pine Bluff School District and the community,” Lee said.
KARK 4 News spoke with current superintendent Jennifer Barbaree who said she cannot speak on the current lawsuit but said the district will respond in a court of law when the time is appropriate.
As for Lee, he said this lawsuit is much bigger than him.
“If you made a contractual agreement with us, we deserve to have that contractual agreement honored,” Lee concluded.
The EEOC said it cannot confirm or deny any additional grievances filed on behalf of other staff or administration in the Pine Bluff School District.