Lawsuit targets Pulaski superintendent | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lawsuit targets Pulaski superintendent

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Just what the Pulaski County School District needs — a lawsuit.

This one was filed in Lonoke County by Deputy Superintendent June Elliott (she's a resident of Lonoke County) against the district and Superintendent Charles Hopson. It's a whistle blower and civil rights action, alleging that Hopson, who is black, has discriminated against Elliott, who is white, and created hostile work environment for her on account of her reporting of various financial and other irregularities.

The allegations are numerous and specific: That Hopson had hired an unqualified administrator for racial reasons; that he'd steered a lucrative consulting contract to a friend who had "harassed, belittled and threatened" white employees in a work session; that he had signed another significant consulting contract and taken other steps without board approval, including obtaining advance travel checks for board members Mildred Tatum and Gwen Williams. The lawsuit contends Hopson had lied to a legislative committee by saying he'd always followed board protocol requiring advance approval of travel.

The lawsuit includes what purports to be a text message from Hopson, apparently to a school board member, that said he would have fired Elliott "if we were not already under such scrutiny."

More seriously, in the broader context of the state's decision on whether to take over the district, Elliott's suit alleges that Hopson continues to show a disregard for the state finding of fiscal distress and allegedly refers to it as "purely political with a multifaceted agenda."

Elliott claims discrimination in her pay and retaliation for her speech. She seeks damages and other relief, including establishment of a "hotline" for discrimination complaints in the district.

I've sought a response from Hopson.

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