Clare Public Schools is being sued in federal court by a former adult education teacher who says she was fired because she’s a lesbian.
Julie Mayra, hired by the district sometime around August 2012, said she had a great working relationship with her colleagues — including being promoted to a full-time position — until the district hired a new superintendent and principal for the 2016-07 academic year. Then, according to her complaint filed in federal court, things slid rapidly.
In particular, Georgette Kelley, the new principal, began to target Mayra, according to the court record. Kelley is a devout Pentecostal Christian who is vocal about her opposition to homosexuals.
Kelley is no longer listed on the Clare Public Schools website as employed there.
It started with a discipline in September 2016, which previously was unprecedented for Mayra. She was again disciplined in October, this time with a written warning, according to the record. Subsequently, she alleges that she was targeted as the only teacher given a development plan, for which she was not consulted and from which Mayra received no feedback from Kelley.
Mayra filed a formal complaint with the school board in November and provided documentation for it in December. In January 2017, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In March, Mayra was turned down for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which she said was caused by stress and anxiety due to Kelley’s treatment of her.
On April 21, 2017, Mayra said she was told that she would be laid off as of Aug. 18. The filing says that she was the only teacher to be laid off, and rather than laying her off that the district posted a vacancy for a job very similar to hers. When she received her final evaluation June 5, 2017, her performance was rated as “ineffective,” based in part on absences related to time she took off that should have been covered by her application for medical leave.
The evaluation, the filing says, has made it hard for her to secure work as a teacher. That, in turn, has cost her money, caused her stress and humiliated and left her feeling embarrassed.
The lawsuit seeks damages of lost wages, reinstatement and an injunction prohibiting the district from taking revenge on her.
The district’s response to the allegations is, “Defendant denies the allegations of said Paragraph of Plaintiff’s Complaint as being legally and factually unfounded.” for each of them.
The district is being represented by Gregory Mair, of Saginaw, an attorney with O’Neill, Wallace & Doyle. Mayra is represented by Julie Gafkay, of Gafkay Law out of Frankenmuth. It is being heard in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.