The Buffalo Public Schools District Ordered to Release Millions of Documents in Racial Discrimination Lawsuit/
A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York issued an Order on July 18, 2018 compelling Dr. Kriner Cash, as Superintendent, and the Buffalo Public Schools District, to release millions of documents concerning racial, gender and age discrimination complaints, student academic test scores at two of the criteria-based schools, as well confidential policy documents of administrators and Board Members of the district.
A press conference is planned for Thursday, July 26 at 10:30am at the CAO Masten Resource Center, located at 1423 Fillmore Avenue where an array of community stakeholder will call for the district to fully comply with the unprecedented Court Order. In a never before seen court order, the Buffalo Public Schools District will have to release: (a) the names and entrance exam test scores for nationally recognized City Honors High School and Hutchinson Technical High students from 2013 to 2017 and for all grades; (b) all records and accounts of all federal education funds received or dispersed from 2012 to 2018; (c) the records of any complaint, civil action, or report filed within the BPS district or with any local, state or federal agency by any student, parent, organization, employee, former employee, contractor, alleging discrimination or disparate treatment because of race, gender, or age between 2012 and 2018.
The documents the district is now required to produce are estimated to be between 2.5 & 3 million pages or between 5-6,000 reams of paper.
In 2015, Shellonnee B. Chinn, the only African-American classroom teacher ever hired at the private Elmwood Franklin School in Buffalo, commenced an action in federal court alleging that she was subjected to retaliation, wrongful termination, invidious racial, age, and gender discrimination, and a conspiracy to deprive her federally guaranteed rights. She also alleges that she was ousted because she discovered the students at one of Buffalo’s lowest performing schools performed better on a standardized test than similarly situated students at the elite Elmwood Franklin School, bring student test scores within the scope of this case. Her complaint includes a punitive damage claim which exposes defendants to tens of millions of dollars in liability.
Specifically, the Buffalo Public Schools District has been accused on either negligently, intentionally, or by corruption, of conspiring with the Elmwood Franklin to deny Shellonnee Chinn, for racially discriminatory reasons, equal access to federal funds for professional development.
The Buffalo Public Schools District, in addition to some 30 other defendants associated with the Elmwood Franklin School are named in the lawsuit.
Samuel L. Radford, III, president of Buffalo’s District Parent Coordinating Council and longtime advocate for Buffalo’s parents and students states: “this is unheard of…and a rare opportunity to get a glimpse into the inner workings of the Buffalo school district pertaining to discrimination that has adversely affected student achievement, fair competition for jobs, and other opportunities. Over the years a broad range of people, including students, parents, teachers, employees, contractors and many others have complaint about not being given a fair chance on a level playing field within the district.