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VA administrator forced out of her job after questioning harmful race-based training to appear in court

ADF attorneys available for media interviews following hearing Thursday
Former public school administrator Emily Mais filed a lawsuit against the Albemarle County School Board for creating a racially hostile work environment.

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Mais v. Albemarle County School Board

WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 2 p.m. EST, Thursday, Dec. 15

WHERE: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, hearing is telephonic: (571) 353-2301, access code 664017958. To schedule a media interview, contact ADF Media Relations Manager Ellie Wittman at (202) 503-7984.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a former public school administrator will be available for media interviews Thursday following a virtual hearing at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Mais v. Albemarle County School Board.

In April, 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, after she raised concerns about a mandatory “anti-racism” teacher training that advocated for differential treatment based on race. During one training session, she inadvertently used the phrase “colored people,” meaning to say, “people of color.” She quickly apologized, but school officials used her slip-of-the-tongue as an excuse to humiliate, shame, and harass her to the point that she felt compelled to leave the job she loved.

“Albemarle County’s goal of becoming an ‘anti-racist school system’ is laudable, but the school district’s mandatory teacher training produces the opposite result—it discriminates based on race,” said ADF Senior Counsel Hal Frampton, who will be arguing before the court on behalf of Mais. “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.”

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 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.

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 racially hostile environment; as a result, Mais felt compelled to resign from her role as assistant principal in September 2021.

ADF attorneys also represent a 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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Hal Frampton
Hal Frampton
Senior Counsel
Hal Frampton serves as senior counsel in the Center for Conscience Initiatives at Alliance Defending Freedom.