Superintendent Accused of Racial Discrimination
Employees allege boss called them slaves and scary
Nine employees of a diverse Washington School District have filed racial discrimination complaints against their superintendent, and the remarks made by the defendant are mind blowing.
The employees of Tukwila School District filing claims range from vice principals, to teachers, to dispatchers.
Superintendent Ethelda Burke, who has been with the district since 2007, is accused of calling her employees slaves and referring to them as dark and scary.
The allegations are shocking because Burke is black herself, and oversees one of the most diverse school districts in the country, where 70% of kids are non-white.
A group of female staffers at Showalter Middle School said Burke once referred to them as slaves.
"I was pissed," school security officer Marva Harris told King 5 news.
Teacher Sandra Goins said, "I couldn't believe my ears. She would refer to professional African-American women as slaves.”
Burke also preferred to call some of her employees by nicknames.
“When I walked into her office she said 'Hey, J-Dark, how are you doing?' J-Dark was my name for Ethelda, my pet name for a month, in a professional environment," said J.D. Hill, athletic director and head of transportation.
There’s more. Burke allegedly told one employee to “stop being a big, black man scaring our white drivers.”
The employees admit they were reluctant to report Burke because she was black. Since the claim, the attorney representing the employees has written a letter asking the board to immediately suspend Burke.