Administrators sue VVUHSD
September 18, 2011 9:48 PM
Natasha Lindstrom
Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE • Five white male administrators who were demoted or allegedly forced to resign are suing the Victor Valley Union High School District for race and sex discrimination.

The lawsuit alleges three black women in a bloc on the district’s Board of Trustees “have developed an agenda to achieve what they characterize as ‘equity’ to remove Caucasian administrators from the district,” according to a complaint filed Sept. 7 in Victorville Superior Court.

In a statement Friday, Superintendent Elvin Momon dismissed the lawsuit as a waste of taxpayer money and flatly denied the allegations.

“This is a baseless accusation,” the statement reads. “We evaluate employees based on several factors, including budget, performance and contribution to our mission to serve students, and our contractual and legal obligations. That’s it.”

In the spring, the district notified several administrators they were being demoted or involuntarily transferred, stirring tension among both employees and parents questioning the moves.

The complaint states that administrators were demoted in spite of stellar performance evaluations. The plaintiffs say they believe the board majority wanted to increase the number of black administrators and wanted “more equity in discipline for minority employees and minority students.”

“It is truly shocking that in 2011, a group of publicly elected officials can publicly espouse a blatantly discriminatory agenda on the basis of race and sex, and implement that agenda,” the complaint states. “This outrageous conduct cannot, and must not, be tolerated.”

The five plaintiffs include:

• Carl Hughes, assistant principal at Lakeview Middle School, reassigned to classroom.

• George Sutton, allegedly forced to resign.

• Javier Ortega, assistant principal at Cobalt Middle, reassigned to classroom.

• Ronald Veach, assistant principal at Goodwill High, reassigned to classroom.

• John Beyer, district director of alternative education and discipline, reassigned to classroom.

The complaint alleges black female administrators with less experience were left alone, and that white administrators were replaced with black administrators with fewer qualifications.

The complaint paints a picture of the reverse discrimination emerging when a new board majority took over after the November 2010 election, comprised of new members Duneen De Bruhl and Evelyn Glasper and returning member Barbara Dew. The complaint states the three black women are personal friends, attend the same church and “regularly discuss district business together.”

De Bruhl was fired from her position as assistant superintendent of educational services under previous Superintendent Marilou Ryder in the 2009-10 school year. A month before the 2010 election, De Bruhl sued the district for racial discrimination.

As soon as the new board members were elected, Ryder resigned and walked away with a hefty buyout package. She had said she resigned because she believed the new board would have fired her. Former board member Felix Diaz and others said they had heard plans of a conspiracy led by De Bruhl to get elected and then get rid of Ryder.

De Bruhl denied the claims, and deferred comment to Momon. Glasper and Dew did not respond to a request for comment.

For more about the five plaintiffs and their complaint, read the full story in Sunday’s Press Dispatch. Get complete stories every day with the “exactly as printed” Daily Press E-edition, only $5 per month! Click here to try it free for 7 days. To subscribe to the Daily Press in print or online, call (760) 241-7755, 1-800-553-2006 or click here.