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“An Angry Black Man", Lawsuit Alleges Racial Discrimination By Jasper County Charter School

2024-06-23 12:18:23 Legal / Law


Royal Live Oaks Academy, a charter school in Hardeeville, South Carolina, is facing accusations of racial discrimination and political retaliation from a former employee. A message posted to the Facebook, Tik-Tok, Twitter, and Instagram accounts of former Royal Live Oaks Academy teacher and academic coach, Gregg Marcel Dixon, on November 09, 2022, reads, in part, ?When my former employer dismissed me,? Dixon begins, ?she, my executive director, Karen Wicks, referenced my race, and my sex as factors, on which she based her decision, saying she had already mentioned I was an ?angry black man?, I am now taking them to federal court?. Dixon?s social media post accompanied the case number for his lawsuit: 9:22-cv-04198. According to the complaint filed by Dixon on Pacer (Public Access To Court Electronic Records), Dixon, who was employed at the school from June 2012 to June 2022, alleges that the decision to not hire him back was not based on his performance as a teacher but on his sex and race.

?You can fire someone because they are ?angry? but not because they are black or a man.? Dixon responded to some messengers on social media. ?If me being ?angry? was the purpose for her letting me go, then why bring up my race or my sex at all? What did that have to do with anything? This was not the first time she had referenced me as ?an angry black man?, Dixon states. The federal complaint also alleges that the decision was politically motivated. Dixon ran for federal office in the 2021-2022 election cycle to represent South Carolina?s Sixth US Congressional District, a position currently held by longtime Congressman, James Clyburn, that includes several counties from the Midlands, the PeeDee, and the Lowcountry, including Jasper County. ?One other candidate that ran for office is facing close to 20 lawsuits against his businesses and I am facing this. I do not believe in coincidences. I strongly believe this is the way these people in power, Republicans and Democrats, bully everyday people from running for office, and from standing up against them.?

Reflecting on the chain of events, Dixon describes, ?I had just received a promotion and a pay raise but once it was announced that I was running for office, and that my platform would include a number of things, one of which being reparations for Black Americans Who Are Descendants Of American Slaves, Emancipated People, things changed.? Dixon explains. ?I was questioned about if I had thought about the children as if my test scores have not always been among the highest on campus, as if I did not always have a life outside of my career as a teacher, I was questioned about my patriotism towards America even though my family has fought in every single war in this country and were enslaved on rice plantations here in the South Carolina Lowcountry that originally enriched this country, I faced several false accusations that were launched against me, and they asked me to do things and meet standards that other employees were not asked to meet. They did not even try to hide it when I would point that out. They would just say that they expected more from me even though I made it clear how unfair it was.? The defendants against whom Dixon has launched his lawsuit are Royal Live Oaks Academy Of The Arts and Sciences, the Charter Institute At Erskine, and individually and in their professional capacity, Karen Wicks, Director Of Royal Live Oaks Academy, and the members of the Charter Institute Of Erskine Board Of Directors: Todd Carnes, Noel Brownlee, Tony Foster, Steven Adamson, Martin O?Connor, Gordon Query, and Stu Rodman.

Dixon proudly cites his long, award winning career from being the school teacher of the year to the district teacher of the year to winning bonuses based on his student?s high test scores and high levels of growth to being awarded academic coach of the year to earning, several years in a row, EVAAS 5, the highest rating for a teacher in South Carolina to having a 76 to 98% approval rating from multiple students surveys year after year to having his students bring back multiple awards from academic competitions to a written letter of commendation from the South Carolina Department Of Education and more.

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