St. Paul, Minn. – An African American teacher who questioned some race based policies in St. Paul’s public schools is proceeding with a lawsuit against the district.
Aaron Brenner previously taught fourth-grade in the public school system of St. Paul. While there he actively questioned district policies regarding discipline for students of color, reports Fox News. The policies in dispute stemmed from an Obama-era initiative which sought to address what were perceived as disproportionate percentages of minority students being suspended from school for bad behavior.
Benner’s experience was that those numbers were addressed by simply allowing students of color to get away with things their white peers would not have. In one instance Benner was punched by a student, and the student was removed from the classroom only to return a few minutes later.
“My main problem was that data was being manipulated to keep the numbers low for behavioral referrals when in reality they were going up,” Benner told Fox News. “That’s fraud and unethical.”
He took his issues with the program to the school board starting in 2011 and again in 2014, as well as to national media outlets reports EAG News. Benner quit his job with the St. Paul School district in August 2015 after the district opened a series of investigations against him that coincided with his speaking out.
That was the basis of his lawsuit, along with the St. Paul Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity agreeing that there is probable cause the district violated his rights with those investigations, reports EAG News.
“The irony is the racial discrimination charge,” Benner told Fox News. “My district always talks about racial equity, and then they got caught going after the only black teacher in the school. I had five frivolous investigations opened up on me.”