Fired Idaho principal files notice of lawsuit over her Indian activities

LEWISTON, Idaho — A fired northern Idaho high school principal who says she was discriminated against because of her race has filed a notice of her intentions to bring a lawsuit against the Kamiah School District.

The Lewiston Tribune reports Wednesday that Veneice Guillory-Lacy contends in a tort claim that her firing from Kamiah High School was because she didn’t keep American Indian activities separate from the school. A tort claim is a legal requirement that is a precursor to a lawsuit against a public entity.

“Superintendent Fred Mercer told Ms. Lacy that he wanted all American Indian activities to be kept segregated from other school activities,” the tort claim said. “This was a violation of claimant’s freedom of speech, discrimination against Ms. Lacy on the basis of race or ethnicity, and was not a legitimate limitation upon Nez Perce tribal culture within the school.”

Guillory-Lacy is of American Indian and African-American descent. She said the problems started on the first day of school when she greeted students in English and Nez Perce. She was placed on administrative leave a few weeks into her first year as principal, and fired a month later.

Kylena Guffie, the district’s business manager, declined to comment.

The tort claim also said that Guillory-Lacy tried to implement a fee waiver policy based on financial need, not race, but was told by Mercer not to grant waivers to American Indian students “because they get enough handouts already.”

Mercer declined to comment to The Associated Press on Wednesday, citing privacy concerns with personnel decisions.

Guillory-Lacy also said in the claim that she wasn’t given the opportunity to testify at a due process meeting on Oct. 9 involving her firing. A hearing on her appeal the firing is set for April 14.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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