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Pleasantville school official alleges reverse racism by school board January 31, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Anti-White, Discriminate, Discrimination, Lawsuit, Pleasantville school, Racism, Racist, reverse racism, Van Syoc, White, Whites.

A longtime school district official is suing the Board of Education for alleged reverse discrimination, claiming the board puts race above qualifications in its hiring practices. Ben Mora, who is white, claims the board has “demonstrated a clear pattern of discrimination against Caucasians and in favor of minority candidates for key administrative positions over approximately the last 15 years,” according to the lawsuit filed last week.

Mora is currently the district’s director of funded programs.

“They’ve been looking past objective qualifications, including the minimum legal requirements, and hiring people who aren’t qualified for these positions based, apparently, on their skin color,” said Clifford Van Syoc, who is representing Mora. “It’s wrong. It’s unlawful.”

None of the past five superintendents has been white, and the district went 15 years before hiring a white candidate as a principal at any of its schools, the suit claims.

Board President Jayson Adams said he has not seen the suit, but defended the board’s hiring practices, saying there is no discrimination. “If there’s an accusation of reverse discrimination in the school district, overall the highest-paid administrators are not minorities,” he said.

It was not clear how that is the case. Three of the top four administrators in the district are black.

Mora, who has worked in the district for more than 36 years, served as acting assistant superintendent for several months in 1992 and as interim superintendent for five months in 1996.

He again assumed the duties during March 2006, when Superintendent Gail Brooks went on administrative leave after giving notice that she would resign later that year.

“Whenever they’re in a jam, they turn to (Mora),” Van Syoc said of the board.

At the March 14, 2006, meeting, longtime board member Doris Graves urged the board and audience to give Mora a standing ovation.

“He has always been here for us, no matter what,” Graves said.

But when the district began looking for a new superintendent, Mora said he was again offered the interim position. Since he believed the district needed more stability, the suit says Mora proposed a three-year contract, but the board ignored his request.

The board instead appointed a black candidate, Clarence Alston, as interim superintendent. But, because Alston does not have the appropriate certification, the state instructed the board to either give Alston a contract, which would include two years under a mentor, or hire someone certified. Mora is one of three people within the district who is certified.

The board opted to stay with Alston. After a series of meetings, they signed him to a three-year contract, with Margate Superintendent Dominick Potena serving as his mentor. The mandated $2,500-per-year mentor’s salary is included in Alston’s contract, under state law.

The suit also claims discrimination against other white workers in the district, including filling two principal positions not from within, but with two less-qualified black candidates who had not interviewed with school-based interviewing teams. One of the jobs, for high school principal, was not even posted, according to the lawsuit.

“We wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if other folks make their own claims” of reverse discrimination, Van Syoc said.

“I can’t have a clear overall reaction until I at least see some documentation,” Adams said. “There’s no hidden agenda in regards to that matter.”

Board solicitor Raymond Hamlin said he had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit, so he could not comment.

CARD {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: pressofatlanticcity.com

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