Joscelin Thomas, hired by a northern Utah school district in 2022 to investigate racial harassment complaints following the suicide of a 10-year-old Black student, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination. Thomas, a former coordinator in the Davis School District’s equal opportunity office, claims she experienced a hostile work environment. She alleges district staff treated her unfairly, accused her of subpar work ethic, and denied her training and mentorship opportunities offered to white colleagues.
The background involves a 2021 federal investigation revealing widespread racial harassment of Black and Asian American students, including the use of derogatory slurs. Black students faced harsher discipline than their white peers for similar behavior, indicating racial disparities in disciplinary actions.
Utah school district faced scrutiny when Isabella "Izzy" Tichenor, a Black and autistic fifth-grader, died by suicide after relentless bullying by classmates. The district settled with Tichenor's family for $2 million and three other Black students for $200,000 over racial harassment.
The school district updated its harassment policy and introduced an anonymous online platform for reporting harassment or discrimination. However, Thomas's experiences raised questions about whether the district addressed its cultural issues.
Thomas's lawsuit accuses colleagues of treating her unfairly, and her contract was not renewed in June 2023 after she scheduled a meeting to discuss the discrimination she faced. The district emphasizes its commitment to a safe environment but refrains from commenting on the lawsuit's specifics.
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