GENERIC: Gavel, lawyer, court, ruling

LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -- The Lee’s Summit School District is responding to a lawsuit that accuses the superintendent of racially discriminatory statements.

Here is why a current, longtime school district employee is accusing the school district of allowing it all to happen.

It came about during the interview process to hire a new director of public relations for the district. Three candidates were interviewed -- two white women and one black woman -- and the comments were made when a panel of school district administrators were discussing those candidates.

The group of administrators included Dr. Amy Gates, the executive director of technology and a Lee’s Summit school district employee of 28 years.

She is the one suing the district.

She said that, during the panel’s discussion of candidates, Dr. Carpenter said, “The establishment . . . is not ready for the two faces of this district to be African-American. . . . This black superintendent is not prepared for his first hire to be a black person. People are waiting for me to make that mistake. Can you imagine walking into a BRT [business roundtable] meeting with a black female as the second face of the district?”

The school district investigated, hired an outside agency, and found the superintendent didn’t do anything wrong, and was not in violation of the district’s anti-discrimination policy.

According to the lawsuit, the district refused to share records from that investigation.

On Friday, on behalf for Dr. Gates, her attorney issued a statement reading, in part: “Gates is compelled to bring this action to bring about accountability for what appears to be illegal conduct on multiple level, which has resulted in dysfunction throughout the district.”

The lawsuit also accused the superintendent of supporting a job candidate who, according to district policy, should never have been eligible for the position in the first place because she is a current board member.

The Lee’s Summit school district declined KCTV5 News’ request for an interview, but said in a statement, in part, “We will be defending the lawsuit in court, not in the media at this time.” is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from KCTV5 News. 

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