In September the Houston School district relieved Furr High School principal Bertie Simmons of her duties, to investigate charges then termed “a personnel matter.”
New details have come from a lawsuit she has filed, charging racial and age discrimination and retaliation.
Simmons is 83 years old, and known locally and nationally for coming out of retirement in 2000 and improving the school academically and dealing with gangs that prevailed.
The lawsuit mentions that she has been accused by the HISD administration of threatening her students with a bat if they did not follow the school’s dress code, which HISD administration would like to relax. Simmons denied making a serious threat, only a figure of speech.
Due to her accomplishments, and reputation, the prestigious XQ Project last year gave the school a $10 million dollar grant to bolster her initiatives in discipline and innovative teaching projects. The XQ Project is run by Lauren Jobs, widow of Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs.
HISD issued the following statement:
“HISD has an obligation to investigate when there have been allegations of misconduct. Dr. Bertie Simmons has been temporarily reassigned while HISD investigates the allegations. HISD will respond to the EEOC and the Department of Justice complaints filed on behalf of Dr. Simmons, and denies any allegations of a pattern and practice of discriminatory treatment against employees.”