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March 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Tukwila Schools chief placed on leave over bias claims

Superintendent Ethelda Burke (Tukwila School District)

The Tukwila School Board placed Superintendent Ethelda Burke on paid administrative leave during a board meeting Tuesday night, KING-5 is reporting.

Nine employees have filed complaints of racial discrimination to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Associated Press previously reported.

For instance, athletic and activities director J.D. Hill wrote that Burke said he was hiring too many people of color and that he was “making the district look too black” and turning her district into a “ghetto.”  Burke herself is black, the AP story said.

Foster High School students walked out of class Friday  to support faculty complaints against Burke, KING reported.

Burke hasn’t responded publicly to the complaints, but some of her supporters wore green ribbons to Tuesday’s meeting, among them one man who testified he has known Burke 42 years, and “she doesn’t discriminate,” according to KING’s footage.

Burke came to the Tukwila district in 2007 from Tacoma. Most schoolchildren in Tukwila are ethnic minorities, 80 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and 37 percent speak English as a second language.

Comments | More in Education, Government | Topics: Tukwila; Tukwila School District

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