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Monday, March 30, 2020

Rowan-Salisbury Schools named in racial discrimination lawsuit


By Angela Watson | Mar 6, 2020

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The Rowan-Salisbury Schools and the director of its Exceptional Children program are being sued for racial discrimination and the former program director, Karen Sylvester, is also a defendant. 

Regina Clarke-Parker, Exceptional behavior support specialist, alleges African-American staff members were treated differently than white staffers by Sylvester and the practice was supported by Director Candace Lindstrom. 

Clarke-Parker is seeking more than $25,000 in damages and punitive damages as well as legal fees.

“The EC Director did not institute any policies of disciplinary actions toward white staff members, but made direct disciplinary actions with knowledge that white staff members were in direct violation of the very issues identified toward the Plaintiff and other African-American staff within the EC Department,” according to the lawsuit.

Sylvester and Lindstrom are no longer listed on the district’s website. 

Clarke-Parker and other black staff members reported the claims to the district, according to the lawsuit. 

Specific incidences of alleged discrimination detailed in the lawsuit include Parker being subjected to more sign-in and check-in procedures than white staff members when she worked in various schools. Clarke-Parker also alleges a white coworker was assigned to follow her when she worked in various schools. 

Lindstrom, the director, also allegedly shared information from Parker’s personnel file with white coworkers who approached her about it. Lindstrom is also accused of talking to white staff members about disciplinary action taken against Clarke-Parker. 

Clarke-Parker alleges Sylvester denied her an in-person evaluation and filed an evaluation with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction without a review or meeting with Clarke-Parker. 

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