DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Former Douglas County School District (DCSD) superintendent Corey Wise alleges in a newly-filed civil rights complaint that conservative school board members illegally fired him for his work on behalf of students of color and students with disabilities.
The expansive complaint filed with the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says Wise was subjected to illegal discrimination and retaliation for backing masks in the classroom in 2021 to protect students with disabilities from COVID-19 and for supporting the district’s equity policy.
The complaint claims that the conservative majority on the school board “ran for office on a campaign platform to dismantle DCSD’s newly enacted equity policy and to end masking in DCSD schools” and, upon entering office in 2022, fired Wise “because of his association with and advocacy for students with disabilities and students of color….”
A complainant need not be a member of a legally protected class, the complaint asserts, to be subject to illegal actions in retaliation for advocating on behalf of those groups.
The board majority, the complaint says, “engaged in discrimination and retaliation based on Mr. Wise’s advocacy for youth and staff of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and students with disabilities.”
The EEOC has the power to impose financial penalties for violations of civil rights law. The complaint does not specify what relief is sought.
EEOC complaints are not public. A copy of the complaint was provided by Wise’s attorney.
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