Columbia County Teacher Cleared Of Any Charges
Steward viewed this move as a demotion. After being exonerated of any charges by the EEOC, she's trying to put her life back together.
"I'm very very humiliated, very embarrassed and disappointed in Mr. Markham," said Steward.
Steward said that she still doesn't understand why she was disciplined by the Columbia County School Board.
"I've always had a good report with the kids and staff in the Columbia County school district, and today I'm just baffled and just distraught and upset about it."
Steward says that she now wants her job back and a monetary settlement. If she doesn't get it, she is prepared to take the matter to federal court. Columbia County Superintendent Grady Markham is looking forward to court.
"I do not agree with the EEOC findings," said Markham. "I look forward to having our day in court and I expect the outcome to be favorable to both the school board and myself."
At Steward's urging, the EEOC also investigated whether or not racism played a part in the way the situation was handled. According to their official letter of determination, the EEOC believes that Steward was in fact discriminated against.
"After 100 years of abolishment of slavery and 45 years since MLK's "I have a dream speech", there is still racism very deep in Columbia County," said Steward.
Despite the EEOC ruling and Ms. Steward's opinion, Superintendent Markham said that he is not in any way a racist.
"It was not racist. In fact, I'm in my 48th year in the school system, and I've worked here my whole life and the people that know me know I get along just as well with the minority community as I do the white and this has nothing to do with race," said Markham.
While it looks like the next step for this disagreement will be into a court room, Markham doesn't expect it to end anytime soon. He said that his lawyers have advised him that it will probably take years to resolve.
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