FARMINGTON — A former Bloomfield schools employee is suing the school district and a former employee for multiple instances of racial discrimination and retaliation against her for making a complaint, which she says led her to quit her job.
Roxanne Arthur, a former student social worker for the Bloomfield School District, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Dec. 10, 2013, against the school district and Rob Ford, former principal at Mesa Alta Junior High school.
Arthur's lawsuit follows a ruling from the Albuquerque office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stating that, on a charge of discrimination filed by Arthur, it had "reasonable cause" to conclude she was subjected to racial slurs and retaliation.
Chuck Culpepper, the district's director of curriculum and assessment, said the district does not comment on pending ligation.
Darlene Gomez, Arthur's lawyer, said Ford is a teacher at Mesa View Middle School in the Farmington Municipal School District. Farmington schools superintendent Janel Ryan said she was not aware of the lawsuit.
Efforts to contact Ford through email and by telephone were unsuccessful. Ford's attorney Keya Cole said they had no comment due to the pending ligation.
"It's been very stressful because I feel like anytime you speak about injustice, you are automatically placed in a negative light," Arthur said. "I feel like in this situation, I have become the target because I did speak out about some things going on."
The letter of determination issued by Derick Newton, Area Office Director of the EEOC's Albuquerque office, states Bloomfield Schools denies the allegations but evidence revealed during an investigation shows Ford referred to Arthur as a "Fat Squaw" and he also made racial slurs and jokes against other minority groups.
The letter states that after Arthur brought up the harassing comments, she was transferred to another school, had her work, time and attendance monitored more closely than other employees, received demeaning correspondence from her new principal and had information withheld from her regarding meetings and other school activities.
The lawsuit complaint filed in federal court alleges Ford sought out a Bloomfield Police Department officer to text racial slurs to Arthur.
The lawsuit also alleges that Ford allowed parents to use Arthur's race as a reason not to work with her.
Arthur was employed by the district from May 8, 2002, to Aug, 31, 2013, and submitted her resignation on Aug. 1, 2013.
Gomez said that after the EEOC ruling, attempts at conciliation between the parties failed.
On Sept. 11, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice determined the office would not file a lawsuit on the charge of discrimination but issued a "Right to Sue" letter for Arthur on the same day.
A court date for the case is scheduled for Aug. 24.
Gomez said a second EEOC charge of discrimination was filed by Arthur on Sept. 19, 2013, after a Bloomfield schools administrator allegedly visited Arthur's supervisor at the Hanaa'Dli Community School more than once, allegedly expressing concerns about Arthur being hired due to pending lawsuits with Bloomfield schools.