A former Orange County teacher has filed a lawsuit against the Florida school district, claiming she was discriminated against for dating an African-American man.
Audrey Dudek, a former math teacher at Edgewater High School, filed a lawsuit last week over claims she was fired in 2013 for dating her now-husband Stacey Dudek, The Huffington Post reports. The teacher — who is White — said that administrators would mock her for her relationships with Black staff members (such as the security guard) and asked her not to hang out with “those people.”
Dudek’s attorney, Suzanne Tzuanos, said the principal and former vice principal would berate her about her dating preferences and even participated in a talent show wearing blackface, gold chains, and baggy clothes to make fun of Black people. After an investigation by The Florida Commission on Human Rights was conducted, the program said there was enough evidence to determine the math teacher was treated differently because of her “gender and race association.”
The lawsuit alleged that school officials were “shocked and offended” when they learned her now husband, Stacey, was black and that her classroom was called “Club Audrey” because she played “black music” and associated with non-white faculty members.
The school district refuted the claims by blaming budget cuts for Dudek’s termination. Tzuanos doesn’t believe their reasoning:
“The assistant principal complained to her to her face, talking to, and I quote, those people referring to black members of the faculty and staff,” Tzuanos said. “The budget didn’t go down in that period of time. Ms. Dudek is a math teacher. There’s a critical need for math teachers at Orange County Public Schools, so the district’s explanation does not hold water.”
Dudek is seeking monetary damages for “emotional pain” and “reputational injury.”
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