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Home > News > Education > Fired teacher sues school district for allowing students to listen to ‘racist and sexist’ rap

Fired teacher sues school district for allowing students to listen to ‘racist and sexist’ rap

By Bob Conrad
Washoe County School District administration building on Ninth Street. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno.

The Washoe County School District (WCSD) was served in October with a new lawsuit. This one is by a teacher alleging she was fired after complaining WCSD allows students to listen to racist, sexist rap music.

“[WCSD] permitted students to wear electronic [headsets] which play music and permitted students wearing those headset to listen to rap or hiphop music, replete with offensive racial and sexual terms and language, as well as offensive discussions of race and/or sex,” Paula Flowe alleged through her attorney Mark Mausert.

“By allowing students to listen to rap music, and repeat foul lyrics in the presence of other students, defendant permitted a teaching/work environment to exist which was not conducive to learning.” 

Flowe, who is Black, said she was subjected to daily harassment by WCSD’s alleged refusal to curtail a “hostile work environment.” Flower is a career educator in her sixties. She has worked in New York and California.

“On numerous occasions plaintiff was able to hear offensive racial and sexual lyrics being played, i.e., students would play the music at a sufficient decibel level so that plaintiff could hear the words of songs – even though students were wearing headsets,” the complaint alleges.

Flowe claims she was shuffled around within the district with changing responsibilities. She alleges WCSD, instead of investigating her complaints, trivialized them by saying WCSD “personnel like the music at issue.”

She received two negative evaluations and was terminated in 2020, according to the complaint. WCSD’s spokesperson declined to respond to the complaint citing the district’s ongoing position of not commenting on pending litigation.

“Caucasian employees were provided adequate support and constructive criticism, as well as evaluations, i.e., timely notice of alleged deficiencies,” the lawsuit alleges. “A Caucasian employee, similarly situated to plaintiff, would not have had her employment terminated. The termination of plaintiff’s employment was the direct and proximate result of racial animus/discrimination.”

The complaint seeks a jury decision for alleged racial discrimination, a racially and sexually hostile work environment and retaliation.

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