Tukwila School District Superintendent Ethelda Burke, 66, has resigned from her longtime position due to allegations that she referred to staff as “slaves” and “ghetto,” reports the Huffington Post.
Ten district employees have made the allegations.
The Huffington Post reports:
“…the school district’s athletic and activities director J.D. Hill wrote in his complaint that Burke criticized him for hiring too many people of color and said he was “making the district look too black” and turning her district into a “ghetto.”
Both Burke and the aforementioned employees are black. In a statement issued by the school district following her resignation, Burke said: “As an African-American woman, born in a charity hospital in New Orleans, I learned at an early age what it’s like to be the victim of discrimination.”
The district investigated the allegations, but the Tukwila School Board rejected the complaints, prompting staffers to take their grievances to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is still conducting its inquiry.
The Tacoma, Washington branch of the NAACP has openly shown their support for Burke, with representative Gregory Christopher saying that “Sister Burke” was incapable of the actions of which she stands accused, reports King5.com. In a letter to Joan Mell, attorney for the 10 employees, he said that it has been impossible for Burke to be treated fairly and requested that their files be released to the NAACP for their separate investigation.
Christopher admitted to his bias, saying that Burke and her husband are lifetime members of the NAACP. When asked why he wasn’t supporting the staff, he responded, “They didn’t ask for our support.”
Burke says that she resigned because the issue was becoming a distraction and she wanted the district to focus on education.