Ex-teacher hires lawyer in dispute with school

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

A Kitts Hill couple has hired a Columbus attorney to represent them in their racial discrimination complaint against the Rock Hill School District.

Brent Unroe, who was fired as a special education teacher in that school district, and his wife, Amanda, have secured the assistance of Toky Clark. The Unroes contend that Brent Unroe was unfairly terminated as a special education teacher and that their adopted children have faced various forms of discrimination because the children are African-American. The Unroes are caucasian

Asad Shabbaz, the first vice-president of the Columbus office of the NAACP, said he has yet to meet face-to-face with Rock Hill Superintendent Lloyd Evans to discuss the matter. Shabazz

Email newsletter signup

had requested such a meeting when the Unroes first brought their complaint to him. Evans responded to the request by sending Shabazz a letter, stating that the Unroes allegations are unfounded, the children have not faced discrimination and that Brent Unroe was dismissed from his teaching position because he abused his students.

"He testified or admitted in a due process hearing in front of the board of education that he drug a multiple handicapped child by its heels on its back down the hall on no more than three occasions," Evans said. "He also testified that he carried a child across the room and placed the child roughly in a time-out chair."

Brent Unroe said his alleged abuse of students was investigated by the Lawrence County Department of Jobs and Family Services and that agency determined there were no findings of abuse or neglect.

Shabazz said the letter from Evans is insufficient and he still wants a face-to-face meeting.

"It is neglectful that he would respond in a letter and say that these things are unfounded, but not be willing to meet," Shabazz said. "After awhile, I get a little impatient with that. I'm not accusing him of anything, but the more he doesn't participate, the more we feel he's hiding something. I publicly request that Mr. Evans contact me immediately."

Evans said he was not aware that the Unroes had hired an attorney to handle their case, and said he is willing to meet with the NAACP and the Unroes any time to resolve the matter. Evans disputed the Unroes claim that their adoption of African-American children had anything to do with his dismissal.

"This has nothing to do with his children at all," Evans said. "It's sad, really, that he is using children in this manner. He had those same children prior to being employed. The district has other African American students and has never had, to my knowledge, any problems with our staff."