A women has filed a lawsuit against a Florida School District alleging violations of civil rights, defamation, and false imprisonment when she and a relative were accused of cheating on a skills test in 2010.
According to the lawsuit, when Leila Jackson-Burch and Aretha Thomas, who are relatives, took the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE), an entrance exam for nursing school and other vocational training, they were accused of cheating because they scored “too high.” Assistant director Denise Willis allegedly explained the administrators’ suspicions by saying “you people don’t score that high.”
“Not only did the racially charged statement offend Plaintiff (Jackson-Burch), the manner in which it was stated reveals a level of comfort and bigotry that is usually reserved for private embrace,” the lawsuit states.
Despite not finding any evidence of cheating, the administrators demanded the women return their test scores and re-take the two-hour test. Jackson-Burch refused and got in her car but director Judy Johnson used her body to block the car from leaving. The administrators, who are white females, and one other, Helena Delgado, who is Hispanic, then called 911.
When three deputies arrived on the scene, according to the lawsuit, Jackson-Burch allowed them to make a warrantless search of her cell phone. In the sheriff’s report, a deputy wrote that they found no evidence of cheating and that Jackson-Burch believed the incident was racially motivated. After the incident, the administrators notified the Florida Department of Education, the Orange County School Board, and Columbia College where Jackson-Burch had been a student for three years, that she had cheated, and refused to validate her TABE test score for eight months, causing her to miss out on a pre-planned nursing course, the suit states.
Thomas later accepted a $2,500 settlement from the Citrus County School Board but Jackson-Burch refused the offer which is why she’s coming forward with this lawsuit now. I’m pretty sure she can expect to get paid.
Can you believe this?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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