Former Lexington Principal Files Discrimination Lawsuit

LEXINGTON, KY -- In a civil rights lawsuit filed Friday, former Booker T. Washington Academy principal Peggy Petrilli says she was forced to leave the elementary school because she's white, and parents and others wanted a black principal, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

The lawsuit also claims that parents and school district officials retaliated against Petrilli because she had complained about race discrimination that she suffered at the hands of parents and members of the school's site-based decision-making council.

The suit names Superintendent Stu Silberman; Carmen Coleman, a district elementary school director; and the board of education. The lawsuit asks for $75,000 in damages, reports the Herald-Leader.

"I'm completely shocked that Ms. Petrilli is making these kinds of allegations," said Silberman, adding that he hadn't been formally served with the lawsuit. "I think to try to turn that situation into a race issue is totally ridiculous."

On Aug. 22, parents and others associated with Booker T. Washington presented Silberman with a 21/2-page document of grievances against Petrilli, including allegations of financial mismanagement, and unethical scoring and administering of standardized tests. She became principal at the school in 2005. After a meeting with Silberman, Petrilli, 59, announced her departure as principal Aug. 26, the newspaper reports.

District staff members continue to investigate accusations of improper test scoring and official misconduct. The investigation is ongoing and no report has been issued yet, Silberman said.

When reached at her home Friday afternoon, Petrilli declined to comment, reports the Herald-Leader.

copyright: Lexington Herald-Leader

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