Another federal complaint filed against HISD

Two and counting.

The Greater Houston Coalition of Justice has filed a complaint to the federal government alleging that Texas education authorities created a hostile workplace in Houston ISD by installing Mike Miles as superintendent and replacing the district’s elected trustees with a Board of Managers.

The complaint, filed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accuses Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

The written complaint does not detail exactly how the state discriminated against its employees by appointing Miles and the board to lead HISD. Longtime civil rights leader Johnny Mata, who heads the coalition, said the state had created a hostile workplace by silencing teachers and threatening them with retaliation for dissent.

He also said the state “selectively enforces” which districts to take over, noting that Wheatley High School, which triggered State Rep. Harold Dutton’s law allowing the Texas Education Agency to intervene in districts where a school had failed five years in a row, had already improved its rating to a passing grade by the time the state stepped in earlier this year.

“Since the TEA takeover, parents and teachers appear to be down the river without a paddle. There’s confusion without a sense of direction, and it’s real sad because with that type of condition in the workplace, many teachers are leaving or having to work in stressful situations, which spills over to the children,” Mata said.

As the story notes, there was a complaint filed in March by the same group with the US Department of Education. That complaint is still pending. It’s not clear to me that either complaint will accomplish much, but I understand the impetus for filing them. We’ll see what happens.

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