Mais v. Albemarle County School Board
Description: Former public school administrator Emily Mais filed a lawsuit against the Albemarle County School Board for creating a racially hostile work environment that forced her to leave her job. School officials severely harassed and discriminated against Mais, who served as the assistant principal at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School, when she raised concerns about a mandatory “anti-racism” teacher training that advocated for differential treatment based on race.
VA assistant principal harassed, forced out of her job after questioning harmful race-based teacher training
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a former public school administrator filed a lawsuit against the Albemarle County School Board for creating a racially hostile work environment that forced her to leave her job. School officials severely harassed and discriminated against Emily Mais, who served as the assistant principal at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School, when she raised concerns about a mandatory “anti-racism” teacher training that advocated for differential treatment based on race.
The training curriculum, which is based on the book “Courageous Conversations About Race,” attributes negative characteristics to some people and positive characteristics to others based solely on their race. For example, the curriculum teaches that acts of “racism” can only be committed by members of the “dominant race,” which it defines as white people. The district is using the curriculum even though the Virginia superintendent of public instruction has expressly recognized that the “Courageous Conversations” book promotes inherently divisive concepts that are harmful to students and staff members and is an example of materials based on critical race theory that are being used in Virginia schools.
“Instead of training faculty members to embrace students of all races, Albemarle County school officials are using a curriculum that promotes racial discrimination,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of the ADF Center for Parental Rights. “The training sets up a classic Catch-22: It encourages all staff members to ‘speak their truth,’ but when a white person like Emily raises concerns about the divisive content, she is deemed a racist in need of further ‘anti-racism’ instruction. Emily believes every person is made in the image of God and entitled to equal treatment and respect and refuses to participate in using harmful ideology to indoctrinate students, teachers, or staff.”
Mais served as an elementary art teacher for seven years before moving into administrative roles in 2012. Albemarle County School District officials constructively discharged her by creating a hostile environment where they repeatedly dismissed her complaints; as a result, Mais felt compelled to resign from her role as assistant principal in September 2021.
ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, Mais v. Albemarle County School Board, in the Albemarle County Circuit Court last week. ADF attorneys also represent a religiously and ethnically diverse group of parents in another lawsuit against the Albemarle County School Board for enacting discriminatory policies based on critical race theory and indoctrinating students in radical ideology.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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Kate Anderson serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is the director of the Center for Parental Rights. Since joining ADF in 2015, Anderson has focused on protecting the conscience rights of individuals being unjustly compelled to forfeit their beliefs under threat of government retaliation, heavy fines, or other punishment. Prior to joining ADF, Anderson was an associate attorney with Ellis, Li & McKinstry, PLLC, in Seattle, where she litigated both civil and criminal cases. She obtained her law degree magna cum laude in 2009 from Gonzaga University School of Law, where she served on the Gonzaga Law Review. She is admitted to the state bars of Arizona and Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court, and several federal district and appellate courts.