CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A former Charlotte Secondary School English teacher filed a lawsuit against the charter school for alleged discrimination which led to the termination of his contract mid-school year.
The 12-page lawsuit was filed in federal court on Monday related to Markayle Gray’s termination on Feb. 2.
Gray was hired to teach 7th and 8th grade English at the charter school in October.
Per the lawsuit, Gray claims he had requested permission from his principal to incorporate the use of the novel “Dear Martin” in his Black History Month curriculum for his 7th-grade English honors students.
The book is a nationally recognized novel that is taught in schools nationwide for young students.
It centers around a 17-year-old black teen racially profiled by a white cop. He wrote symbolic letters to Dr. Martin Luther King to cope with the trauma, asking him what he would do in modern-day America.
Attorney: School cool with book at first
The request to use the book was allegedly approved and, according to Gray’s attorney Artur Davis, was reinforced with enthusiasm from the principal.
Davis has argued that ‘[Gray’s] core teachings have to be signed off on. When you follow the rules, you don’t expect to be punished.’
The lawsuit states that when the book was to be assigned in January, white parents began to complain about the curriculum.
Per the statements filed:
“On Feb. 2, 2023, Gray was informed by the school’s principal . . . that his contract was being terminated effective immediately. The ostensible grounds, he was told, was the emergence of parental opposition over “Dear Martin” and other aspects of Gray’s teaching content related to racial equality. As [leaders[ stated, “I cannot address complaints made by parents all day.
[Leaders] also told Gray that she had been in constant communication with the Board of Directors, “all day long,” as she put it, which had also received parental complaints regarding Gray, and that the Board had authorized his immediate termination.”
Gray’s attorney claims Gray has taught “Dear Martin” in other campus classes with no disciplinary actions or concerns from parents, students, or other educators.
Queen City News reached out to Charlotte Secondary Schools multiple times on Wednesday, with a response from school secretaries that the head of the school was working on filing our request.
They have yet to respond as of Wednesday evening.
Per the lawsuit, Gray is seeking back and front pay and damages.
Since this is a federal case, discovery in it will begin two months from the June 12 filing and can last upwards of six months.