LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Former duPont Manual High School Principal Jerry Mayes is threatening to sue Jefferson County Public Schools unless his demotion is reversed and he’s reinstated as principal of the magnet school.
Mayes, through a letter sent to JCPS Thursday by attorney Garry Adams, is officially challenging the district’s “very troubling decision” to place him in a non-instructional role and cut his pay by nearly $69,000 after the upcoming school year.
If Mayes isn’t reinstated as principal of Manual, “litigation on the basis of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act at a minimum will be brought,” Adams wrote.
The district demoted Mayes July 20 after an investigation into racially insensitive comments he made to a pair of students found that he had made improper remarks to his staff, such as telling them that he had been called a “wigger” growing up, sharing personnel information about others and asking Manual employees whether they would prefer a male or female for a teaching position.
Adams, who declined an interview request by WDRB News, contends in the letter that JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio told Mayes not to respond to critics after the students’ secret recording came to light.
“You essentially allowed a father of two African American children to get crucified in the media and at Board Meetings for being a racist,” Adams wrote in the letter. “Something that you know is untrue which was unsubstantiated by your investigation.”
Adams also said Mayes was told by Assistant Superintendent Brad Weston that Pollio was being pressured by Mayor Greg Fischer’s office and groups like the NAACP and ACLU to remove Mayes from Manual.
Adams accused Pollio of violating the Kentucky Civil Rights Act because the decision was based on his client’s race and of retaliating against Mayes.
“You knew as of June 15, 2018, that three alleged comments were not the true reason for any future action against Mayes,” Adams wrote, adding that Mayes was discriminated against in the demotion.
“Despite this report, you chose to double down, continue to change the report in an effort to get Mr. Mayes to resign or retire and include additional pre-textual reasons for your decision to demote him,” he added.
JCPS Communications Director Allison Martin declined to comment on the letter, saying the district does not comment on personnel matters.
Adams indicated that he would subpoena Pollio during a hearing before the Jefferson County Board of Education and asked him not to destroy “any documentation of any sort that relates to this matter.”
Adams added in a footnote that he and Mayes were worried about the objectivity of some school board members.
“We do have some concerns that a couple of the board members have displayed bias in this situation and/or may have a conflict, but that will be addressed prior to the hearing itself,” he wrote.
Mayes can choose to have his hearing before the school board in public or behind closed doors.
Pollio will notify Mayes of the date, time and location of the hearing in a written statement that will also include the reasons for his demotions, according to correspondence previously provided by JCPS. Mayes will have 10 days to file a response or his demotion will be final.
Pollio named retired JCPS administrator Kirk Lattimore as Manual’s interim principal on Wednesday as Manual’s school-based decision making council searches for a new principal.
Reach reporter Kevin Wheatley at 502-585-0838 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KevinWheatleyKY.
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