O'Fallon Weekly January 31, 2018

Wednesday January 31, 2018 Vol 3, No. 41 $1.00 Central 104 sued for racial discrimination and retaliation By Angela Simmons Weekly Reporter Central School District 104 Board President Sarah Svoboda City Council receives report on O'Fallon's emergency preparedness Page 3 A group of parents of current and former Central School District 104 students, as well as former coaches, have filed a lawsuit against the district. The lawsuit cites 19 counts of dis- crimination and retaliation against the students, parents and coaches, over the course of months and causing lost wages, continued suffering, mental anguish and humiliation. The named plaintiffs in the 67-page lawsuit are Theophili- us and Stephanie Afogho, Todd Porter, Marcus Gregory and Christopher Boykin, and the listed defendants are the Illinois Central School District Board of Education, School Board President Sarah Svoboda, former district teachers Andrea Heuring and Emily Weber, and current teacher, Athletic Director and co-teacher’s union President Derek Morgan. The suit was filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by the plaintiffs’ lead attorney Mark S. Schuver and assisting attorney Natalie Lorenz, and demands a jury trial. Schuver said that while the lawsuit does seek damages for the issues stemming from the retaliation and discrimination, there isn’t really a figure in mind. “The damages are complex since we have lost wages and various other components,” Schuver said. “Their primary goal, not that money isn’t an issue, is to end what has been a very discriminatory system over there. Carriel PTO requests volunteer help to keep library open Page 8 I’ve been getting calls all day long from other parents in the school district telling me very similar to identical stories about what’s going on over there. They’ve got a real prob- lem, and they just stuck their head in the sand. They’ve gone out and hired an African American principal after the fact thinking that’s all they need to do to solve the problem, and that’s not the way,” Schuver continued. Plaintiff Marcus Gregory previously cited statistics that the district had over 49 percent African American students, but not one African American teacher or administrator. There has been an African American member of the school board for the last few years. The district hired Joseph Arthur Middle School Principal Tron Young in April of 2017. The lawsuit most notably mentions an incident at JAMS on January 18, 2017, in which Heuring, who was also the former Student Council Sponsor, called two mixed-race students “slaves.” The students both have Caucasian mothers and Af- rican American fathers. The boy and girl were dubbed “slave number one” and “slave number four” and told to do certain tasks for the teacher, including fetching her coat because she was cold. The lawsuit alleges that the discrimination of the two students, and ultimate the retaliation against them and their parents stemming from that incident. At the February 13, 2017, regularly scheduled school board meeting, the incident became See "Central lawsuit” on Page 4 Scary scene raises safety concerns in youth hockey Page 17