Idaho judge dismisses former principal's appeal
LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - An appeal filed by a fired northern Idaho high school principal contending racism played a part in her termination has been dismissed.
Second District Court Judge Michael J. Griffin dismissed former Kamiah High School Principal Veneice Guillory-Lacy's appeal after ruling the school board didn't have to allow irrelevant evidence at the termination hearing, the Lewiston Tribune reported in a story Tuesday.
Guillory-Lacy's attorney argued she was fired because she tried to implement race-neutral policies at the school. But school officials said she was fired because she didn't receive her administrator certification in a timely way.
"Everything was correctly done by the district in the termination," said Kamiah Superintendent Fred Mercer after the ruling. "It was uncomfortable for all folks involved. The court determined in one direction, and we will live with that decision."
Guillory-Lacy contended she was fired because she decided to waive school fees for both white and American Indian students.
The Kamiah School Board's attorney, Bret Walther, argued at an April appeal hearing that whether racial discrimination existed was irrelevant because Guillory-Lacy's firing was justified because she didn't have her administrator certification.
The Kamiah School District hired Guillory-Lacy in June after she finished an administrator program at the University of Idaho, but before she received her certification from the Idaho State Department of Education.
An education department official said Guillory-Lacy's certification application was received in late September, two days after she was placed on paid administrative leave for not having the document.
Guillory-Lacy's attorney, Jennifer Douglass, said the application was submitted over the summer and then re-submitted when Guillory-Lacy became concerned about not receiving a response from the state.
Douglass said the certification was subsequently approved, but Guillory-Lace was fired in October.
Douglass said she will take the matter to the Idaho Human Rights Commission where issues of discrimination are addressed.
Guillory-Lacy also has filed a notice, called a tort claim, to sue the school district seeking $500,000. That action is pending.
"We are moving forward," Douglass said. "This will take time, and perhaps a number of actions, but both Ms. Lacy and the tribal students at Kamiah High School deserve better."
Guillory-Lacy contends in the tort claim that her firing from Kamiah High School was because she didn't keep American Indian activities separate from the school.