A Philadelphia private school may have quite the legal mess on its hands after Arthur "Chuck" Matthews, a former math teacher at the school, filed a racial-discrimination suit claiming that he was fired from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy without cause. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Matthews was terminated after school officials confronted him about sending allegedly "inappropriate" text messages to a female student, however, in a letter to parents, the school said that it had determined Matthews' text "were of a personal, not sexual nature."
If that seems like entirely too vague an accusation, you might suspect that we're missing some key piece of information, such as what Matthews' text actually said. A spokeswoman for Springside Chestnut Hill Academy — a private school where tuition ranges from about $17,000 for pre-kindergarten students all the way up to $29,000 for high school students — has said that the school doesn't comment on pending litigation. The federal discrimination suit that Matthews' attorneys filed alleges that Matthews' termination fits with a pattern of discrimination at what the suit euphemistically terms a "predominantly Caucasian" school. The suit continues,
Historically, black employees, regardless of their position, have been denied promotions and are subject to harsher discipline, unfair demotion, and unjust termination in circumstances where nonblack staff are, or have been, treated more favorably.
So what about those "inappropriate" texts? Matthews had been employed at the school since 1998, and boasted a squeaky-clean record until August. That's when school President Priscilla Sands issued Matthews a written warning and suspended him from coaching and advising duties because he had traded a series of texts with a female student who'd graduate in June. Matthews, meanwhile, maintains his innocence and insists that school officials relied on the ever-seductive rumor mill to decide to terminate him.
Fired teacher sues Springside Chestnut Hill Academy [Philadelphia Inquirer]
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