Schools Lawsuit

A former Clarksville Montgomery County School System employee recently filed a lawsuit against the school district in federal court for race discrimination and retaliation, claiming he was overlooked for job interviews. CHERI REEVES

A former Clarksville Montgomery County School System employee filed a lawsuit against the school district in federal court for race discrimination and retaliation, claiming he was overlooked for job interviews. 

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville, claimed in 2017, Demetrius Thomas, who worked for the CMCSS in the 1990s, did not receive any interviews or job offers even though he was well qualified for the many positions for which he applied. 

The complaint included information regarding Thomas’ filing of a civil rights complaint against the Fort Campbell School System while serving as an administrator. He served as an assistant principal at Fort Campbell High School from June 2012 to September 2016. 

Thomas sought employment with the CMCSS in spring 2017, following his administrative roll at Fort Campbell. 

Thomas said he attended a job fair where he received positive feedback and was told one principal wanted to hire him, but Thomas was never contacted for that position or others for which he was qualified and had applied. 

In November 2017, Thomas said he received an anonymous note that pointed to reasons the district didn’t contact him. 

The note allegedly referred to discriminatory information on his application with instructions to read local newspaper accounts of Thomas and to speak with two named CMCSS administrators before approval of his employment. 

Thomas, who is black, claims he was treated less favorably than white employees who were hired for the positions he sought and that such action is race discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. 

The charge of retaliation, according to the suit, came as a result of his employment with the Fort Campbell School System. 

“Plaintiff filed a complaint of race discrimination with the Fort Campbell School System which was well known throughout the Fort Campbell [and] Clarksville Montgomery County school systems,” the suit said.

After Thomas applied for CMCSS employment, the complaint said CMCSS Director of Schools Millard House inquired about the settlement of Thomas’s case. 

“Plaintiff never received any job interviews and learned that his application was blocked so that prospective hiring officials could not even see his application,” the suit said. 

Thomas alleged the action was conducted in retaliation, which caused emotional harm, subjection to ridicule and hostile attitudes by those in the public, as well as school district employees. 

Schools officials said they received the lawsuit Monday, and due to pending litigation, they would not be able to discuss details involving the allegations against the district. 

Thomas seeks damages from the CMCSS to include lost wages and benefits for the past and future. 

He also requests compensatory damages for emotional distress, embarrassment and stress, loss of enjoyment of life, out-of-pocket expenses for medical and pharmacological expenses and attorney fees. 

Thomas would also like to receive one of the district positions for which he applied. 

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