Tukwila School Board met, took no action in racial discrimination claims

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by JIM FORMAN & ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 22 at 10:54 PM

TUKWILA, Wash. -- The Tukwila School Board went behind closed doors Thursday night, only to emerge hours later without having taken any action surrounding embattled superintendent, Ethelda Burke.

Joan Mell, the attorney representing the nine employees who have filed complaints of racial discrimination with the EEOC, says others have come forward sharing similar stories about Burke. The accusations say Burke spoke to staffers as caricatures - how a slave owner, or slave would speak to subservient slaves.  The complaintants are all African-American as is Burke.

Sandra Goins, a teacher who is one of the complaintants, says there is support growing in the community, but it is an uphill battle.

"I went into the Safeway today," she said, "and someone said how do you know she wasn't joking. She is my superior, she is the head of this district, and you don't joke."

The School Board in a statement on the district website said it would not rush to any judgement.

"We will not issue premature judgments with respect to the complaints or the employees involved.  As stated, this is the only fair approach for everyone, both the employees who have made these complaints and the district’s superintendent, Ethelda Burke, who has led the district as its chief executive officer for approximately four years."

Since KING 5 broke the story Monday night, students have walked out of class twice, and plan to do so again Friday morning at 9:30. That is when investigators are scheduled to begin hearing evidence in the matter.






 

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