Tukwila superintendent placed on paid leave in discrimination case

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by JIM FORMAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Jimformanking5

KING5.com

Posted on March 27, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 27 at 11:02 PM

TUKWILA, Wash. – The Tukwila School Superintendent has been placed on paid leave as an investigation into alleged discrimination continues. The School Board's decision was unanimous.

"I believe there is sufficient evidence to warrant putting the superintendent on leave," Board Member Dave Larson said.

10 black teachers and staff members claim Superintendent Ethelda Burke, who is also black, made racist and derogatory remarks to them. They filed racial discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A large number of supporters of Burke, wearing green ribbons attended the meeting and called the suspension, "not necessary."

Parents, teachers and students say the highly charged case is distracting from the job of the district, educating students. "We have kids to teach, to educate," Board Member Alicia Waterton said.


On Friday, students at Foster High School walked out of class Friday in support of teachers and staff who claimed their district superintendent uttered racial slurs at them.

Sandra Goins, one of the 10 alleging discrimination said the suspension is a step in the right direction, but doesn't go far enough. She is calling for an outside investigation into her claim. "Although it was very brave that they took the steps they did," Goins said of the board, she added,"still we are wanting an independent investigation."

 

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