A discrimination lawsuit has been filed against a private Manhattan preschool by five black educators who claim they were fired because of their race, the New York Daily News reports. The women, who worked as teachers and teaching assistants, all lost their jobs between 2010 and 2013 after a new head administrator, Renee Bock, was hired.
“They fired a lot of people and then they had to fill the ranks; from their website, you can see the staff is filled, and it’s not with women of color,” Susan Kaplan, the plaintiffs’ attorney, told the Daily News.
In the lawsuit, Bock is accused of creating a “hostile environment” in the school. The teachers claimed that they all had satisfactory work evaluations and had received written praise and endorsements from parents and board directors. However, they said that Bock began to target the women in a way that appeared to be intentionally discriminatory.
One of the teaching assistants, Linnette Dolle, said that she was fired because Bock didn’t like the way she wrote reports about her students.
“I asked to take a class to get better and she said no matter what I did, my writing would never be good enough. She said I wasn’t a good fit for the school. She made it clear she had a goal in mind, and that was me not being there.”
The other teachers said they were charged with having a “bad attitude” and not handing in curriculum plans on time.
Bock no longer is working at the school. Whether she resigned or was asked to leave is uncertain.
In the lawsuit, the former preschool educators are requesting compensation for lost wages and emotional damages. Lawyers from the private preschool are currently working on a settlement.