Suspended Superintendent is Suing School

April 25, 2022

ENCINITAS, California—Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward has filed a lawsuit against the San Dieguito Union High School District following her administrative leave placement.

The school board placed Ward on administrative leave after her racially biased remarks about Asian families. She implied the only reason Asian students perform better is because they’re wealthy.

“Call it what it is. They’re going to fire her. They’re not taking her back,” Ward’s attorney, Josh Gruenberg stated to NBC7 San Diego.

The board voted 3-1 last Wednesday to place Ward on paid administrative leave. However, Ward claims the reason she was placed on leave was because she is being retaliated against for filing a complaint on March 10 against board vice president Michael Allman, reports NBC7.

The series of events unfolded on April 11 during a diversity equity and inclusion training session. Ward responded to a question asking why Asian students “do so well in school.”

“Here in San Dieguito, we have an influx of Asians from China, and the people who are able to make that journey are wealthy,” James-Ward said during the meeting. “You cannot buy a house for two million dollars unless you have money.”

Ward also implied all Asians are Chinese. Studies show that low-income Asian-American students still outperform their low-income and high-income African-American counterparts.

“The whole family comes, parents, grandparents, they are there to support kids at home, whereas in some of our Latinx communities, they don’t have that type of money,” Ward said at the meeting. “Parents are working two jobs, they’re working sunup to sundown.”

Ward soon received backlash from the Asian-American community and immediately issued two apologies. However, some members of the Chinese community have called for her resignation.

She pointed out the majority of those calling for her resignation are from California for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER).

“They put a complete hit out on me to make this into something it’s not,” Ward said. “They created this insanity to rile up the community about something that is a contributing factor.”

Ward sat down with CBS8 to voice her frustrations.

“Sheer hell. Just sheer hell. Like, what the heck just happened. How did this happen? My intentions were never meant to harm, to hurt,” she said.

“I believe diversity, equity and inclusion should continue. We need to learn about each other. But not in a way that we are condemned and crucified and publicly lynched. Our school leaders need to be given the grace to engage in this conversation in a real way that makes a difference for kids.”

Feature Image via SDUHSD

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