Whitman settles discrimination complaint

By Kenny Lam and Eileen Ong

Resolving a discrimination complaint filed after a school vandalism incident in May 2017, the Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) awarded teacher David Whitman $15,000 compensation for emotional distress. In addition, the settlement agreement negotiated the installation of a new water filter on campus, among other changes.

The agreement was originally prompted by a sex-gender discrimination complaint that Whitman filed last December after claims of being discriminated during the school vandalism cleanup process.

According to the agreement obtained by The Matador through a California Public Records Act request, these changes included a two-hour harassment and discrimination prevention training for administration management and supervisors; distribution of handbooks or equivalent regarding reporting of harassment or discrimination on campus; and repainting of the vandalized walls which contained “personal references” to Whitman, along with the previously stated monetary compensation and water filter.

In addition, Principal Debbie Stone and Whitman agreed to a private meeting “as show of good faith interest in rebuilding confidence in the administration.”

The agreement was negotiated during spring break in March and finalized early April. On AUSD’s behalf, school board vice president Robert Gin signed the agreement.

Both AUSD representatives and Whitman were asked about the resolution of the complaint. However, both declined to comment due to a nondisclosure agreement.

The water filter, located in the cafeteria, was received positively by students. It has been used frequently, with its current bottles filled count of over 2,500 bottles since the beginning of this school year.

Sophomore Mabel Nguyen said she enjoyed the filter’s convenience and made use of it everyday.

“I drink a lot of water and [a] 32 ounce only lasts until lunch, which is perfect since now I can refill it and not have to bring extra plastic water bottles,” Nguyen said.

Per the agreement, Whitman agrees to not bring the complaint before any local, state, or government court or entity again, and the district’s response “does not constitute an admission of liability or wrongdoing.”

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