Timeline of Felecia Duggins Case
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DateIssueCategory
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2007-05-00Duggins hired as principal of brand new Appoquinimink High School.Evaluation
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2008-05-00Meeting with Asst. Superintendent, HR Director, Principal from other high school in District, and Duggins held to discuss non-renewal of teacher contracts. Out of approximately 200 high school teachers, four teachers' contracts would not be renewed. All non-renewed teachers were African-American. Duggins expressed her concern and attempted to get clarification about why one particular teacher, whom she had supervised the previous two years, was being terminated. The Asst. Superintendent refused to address Duggins’ concern, instead angrily glared and said “don’t even start it!”Disparate Treatment
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2008-01-00Duggins discovered thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies in a white teacher’s classroom that were clearly labeled as belonging to his former place of employment. Informed HR Director, who contacted the former district; they visited our school and confirmed that the items had been stolen from their district. Later that week, teacher was caught by Duggins and HR Director with a dolly loaded with boxes attempting to leave the premises. Boxes contained hundreds of dollars worth of Appoqunimink School District equipment and supplies. AEA (the union) gets involved and teacher is allowed to resign (as opposed to being terminated), and the District grants teacher 30 days of pay at regular salary and no charges are filed by either district.Disparate Treatment
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2008-06-00During District’s annual administrative retreat, Duggins recognized and praised by Asst. Superintendent as the only Principal in the District who devoted at least 85% of every monthly faculty meeting to academic achievement and school improvement.Evaluation
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2009-01-00A new white female teacher smacks a black student in the face on her second day of employment. The new teacher alleges that she was told by department chair and veteran teacher that she needed to control this particular student for her class to run smoothly. She admitted this was her attempt to control the African-American male student. The teacher was allowed to resign (as opposed to being terminated) without further incident. No charges were filed.Disparate Treatment
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2009-01-00An African-American paraprofessional and junior varsity basketball coach uses “broken” washing machine without permission, causing approximately $400 in additional damages. Staff member was immediately terminated from both positions he held, forced to retrieve his personal belongings in front of the basketball team which was practicing, and publicly berated and escorted off the premises by HR Director.Disparate Treatment
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2009-01-00Duggins expresses dissatisfaction with disparity in treatment of African-American and white staff members with supervisor and HR Director. Told to stop complaining. Disparate Treatment
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2009-01-30A meeting was held with a parent (who is also a teacher/staff member in the district) to discuss her concerns regarding three staff members (all of whom are African-American). During this meeting, the parent/staff member alleged that black basketball players called white players "crackers" on a regular basis. When her son was questioned about the allegations, he said that there was name calling but he failed to confirm his mother’s specific allegation of being called a "cracker." The parent/staff member became upset and used the word “Nigger” several times during the meeting. Duggins informed the parent/staff member that she was offended that she felt so comfortable using the N-word, being a district staff member, and she replied, “It’s just a word, it’s in books - it’s no big deal. That sure hit a nerve." The parent/staff member ended the meeting by saying she would “just go and talk with Tony” (referring to the superintendent). The parent/staff member sent an email to the Superintendent stating that she, her son, and other parents in the district felt that white students were expected to adhere to higher standards than African-American students.Disparate Treatment
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2009-02-00The allegations against the three staff members were investigated and determined to be inaccurate. Disparate Treatment
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2009-02-00Duggins reported the actions of the parent/staff member to the Superintendent and requested a meeting with him. In addition, Duggins requested assistance from the Supervisor of Student Services to initiate interviews with white basketball players to determine if black players had made racial slurs. The results of the interviews determined that black basketball players had not made racial slurs to the white basketball players, and this was reported to the Superintendent by the Supervisor of Student Services.Disparate Treatment
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2009-02-00During meeting with the parent/staff member, Asst. Superintendent and Superintendent, Superintendent refused to address the offensive comments made by parent/staff member, instead started meeting by saying “We all say things we don’t mean when we are angry, I want to concentrate on how we can help the student.” During the meeting, parent/staff member admits she embellished comments about staff because she was really upset at the basketball coach. At the end of the meeting Superintendent informed paret/staff member that his door was always open and thanked her for helping to pass referendums. Superintendent later indicated he had privately reprimanded the staff member. Disparate Treatment
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2009-02-00Duggins requested assistance from Supervisor of Student Services to obtain discipline data to determine if there were biases in discipline between African-Americans and Caucasians as white parents and white staff members had alleged.Disparate Treatment
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2009-02-00Supervisor of Student Services presented data to AHS staff during professional development that showed evidence to dispute claims. In fact, although African American students represented only 26% of the population they received 61% of the subjective infractions. Many members of staff refused to believe the data presented by the unbiased district office staff member and adamantly objected to such claims. This contributed to a more hostile working environment for Duggins, African-American staff and African-American students.Disparate Treatment
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2009-02-07Building union representative requested a meeting on behalf of the teachers to discuss rigorous final exam criteria that Duggins had mandated. After being unable to persuade Duggins to delay requirements until June, she informed Duggins that staff viewed her as racist because she had held a "Black party." When Duggins inquired about what “Black Party," the union representative explained that staff members had heard that Duggins had held a Christmas Party exclusively for black staff members, thus it was termed a “Black Party.” The building union representation also stated that white staff members were concerned because all the black employees sat together during AHS’ Christmas party. Duggins informed the union representative that this was inaccurate.Disparate Treatment
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2009-03-16Duggins reported union representative's allegations, as well as several other questionable statements and practices by staff members and parents that she perceived to be racist and discriminatory and impacted her ability to perform at a high standard to her immediate supervisor, the Asst. Superintendent, on at least four occasions prior to March 16, 2009. One time she was told, “This is central Delaware, and it’s the way it is,” another time, “I am discriminated against everyday because people can’t phathom that the assistant superintendent is black,” “You need to just get used to it, the District frowns upon people who keep complaining,” and “It’s only going to get worse now that Obama is in office.”Disparate Treatment
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2009-03-17Duggins called off from work because of illness. Diagnosed as severely depressed (because of racial tension and stress attributable to the school climate and excessive work days caused by the maternity leave of the assistant principal for three months). Missed block scheduling meeting held that evening. Returned to work the next day with medical note. Assistant superintendent scheduled meeting to discuss failure to attend the block scheduling meeting.Drug Testing Policy
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2009-03-19Letter dated 3-19-09 required submission to drug screening reasons stated “culture existing at AHS, failure to attend block scheduling meeting , and other indicators” cited as reasons for drug testing. Meeting with HR manager later admit there are no other indicators.Drug Testing Policy
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2009-03-00Appoquinimink School District Policy Number 3114 – in addition to having reasonable suspicion, requires employee to be suspended with pay, an administrator to accompany employee to blood and-or urine collection site, and meeting with human resource manager once results have been returned to discuss results. The district failed to follow the steps required by District Policy 3114.Drug Testing Policy
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After the district became aware that Duggins had filed EEOC lawsuit, the Asst. Superintendent and HR manager add additional reason for drug screening they now allege that Duggins was yelling and pointing at assistant superintendent during the meeting held at 3:30 on 3-19-09. Signed affidavit by Assistant superintendent and HR manager.Drug Testing Policy
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The superintendent later alleged that Duggins had met with him earlier and had appeared lethargic and “out of it." He also stated that she had failed to attend “several” meetings he had scheduled to talk about her performance. Signed affidavit by Superintendent.Drug Testing Policy
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2009-03-00Duggins asked the HR manager about the results of her screening; he said that he "thought the doctor had sent results" to her. She inquired about his responsibility to inform her of results, and he replied that he was "unaware of the policy."Drug Testing Policy
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2008-08-00Summative Evaluation dated August 2008 after first year as principal of new high school completed by assistant superintendent rated “Effective”. Comments included “You promoted the vision that rigor of instruction, high expectations and nurturing of each student is expected from all staff”. “Meetings were used as a vehicle for sharing best practices and to focus upon staff development.” “You not only advocated for a culture that was supportive and conducive to learning, you actively monitored and corrected any actions that could be contradictory to your expectations.” “Thanks for enforcing the fact that mediocrity will not be tolerated.” “You are very accepting of constructive criticism”. “During your “novice” period, I have witnessed you reflecting upon areas for improvement and following suggestions to make a difference.” “The school spirit and parent support are due to your commitment.”Evaluation
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2009-01-27“Desk audit” by assistant superintendant dated 1-27-09 states “continuous communications with staff by principal is documented” “Great communications. Dialogue with staff well established. Principal has great sensitivity to student needs”Evaluation
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2009-07-30Summative Evaluation by assistant superintendent dated 7-30-09 received rating of “ineffective” include comments from survey created, distributed, collected and analyzed by AEA (union lead by same member who alleged Duggins was viewed as racist because black staff members sat together at school Christmas party and falsely accused Duggins of having a “Black Party”). Comments including “growth will come when you accept constructive suggestions and act accordingly.” “Realizing that you can learn from others it is essential to be receptive to new ways of looking at “old problems”. “Maintain open and positive lines of communications with all whom you are to exchange information”. Comments directly conflict with comments the prior novice year.Evaluation
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2009-06-00Despite first and only “ineffective” rating in 25 years in education field, Duggins was not placed on an improvement plan as mandated by the Delaware Performance Appraisal System upon which school administrators are governed. Duggins has since received three “effective” ratings and awarded three new contracts since “ineffective” rating.Evaluation
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2009-05-00Duggins and superintendent meet to discuss her racial allegation and concerns he had received from staff. She suggested superintendent conduct a focus group to ascertain true school climate. Superintendent randomly selected 10 staff members to discuss school culture. Meeting resulted in very positive opinion of Duggins. She scheduled a meeting to discuss the results of focus group to be held 5-15-09 but later cancelled the meeting because by this time she was on FMLA. Upon return from FMLA she was informed by superintendent that a staff member had stated privately that she feared retaliation by Duggins so she was not truthful during the meeting, he therefore informed Duggins that he was going to disregard the comments he received during the meeting.Evaluation
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2009-06-00Demoted to assistant principal upon return from FMLA. HR manager demanded to be present when Duggins relocated from AHS to MHS, claiming that he had the right to ensure that she only took personal property when she left. Administrators have relocated throughout the district and out of the district; Duggins is the only administrator in over ten years to be supervised when relocating office, leaving the district, or retiring. She was not supervised during first two moves prior to complaining about the District’s unjust practices.Disparate Treatment
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