Desert Vista High School Teacher Files Suit

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: February 2, 2016

Desert Vista High School Teacher Files Suit

Desert Vista High School teacher Dr. Cicely Cobb has a passion for teaching, striving for a diverse learning environment in her classroom.

But since September, she claims it’s been the complete opposite for her to maintain such an enthusiasm.

“Things have escalated to the point that I had no choice but to file a lawsuit,” said Cobb.

Cobb is now taking the Tempe Union High School District to federal court, filing a 20-page complaint in February, making allegations of racial discrimination by students and a lack of action by administrators regarding the issue.

But the district didn’t take it lying down as they too filed an answer to her complaint, citing zero evidence of racial discrimination toward her.

Once the complaint was filed Cobb noted that administration has reprimanded her with extra supervision as a result confining her prep time to the English Department work room rather than her own classroom.

In her complaint, Cobb claims in September 2013, a white student asked a black student to show him his driver’s license, making the comment, “you are probably so black in the picture, we can only see your teeth.”

She also claims the issue, along with other complaints of racism, was brought to district officials a month later, claiming they laughed it off and did nothing about it.

And in November of that year, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as it continued to be downplayed by the administration and the district.

In January of 2014, a cellphone video was posted to social media sites, showing a white male student hitting her on the head with what looks like a laminated piece of paper that she calls in court documents a “bathroom pass.”

Cobb claims it was racially motivated, saying she’s never seen it done to other white teachers.

“Not only are students being bullied on a daily basis in America, teachers are as well,” said Cobb.

In the district’s answer to Cobb’s complaints, they say no discrimination took place, denying any allegations of racial discrimination, claiming any directives toward Cobb strictly had to do with her teaching performance.

Cobb expects a preliminary hearing to take place sometime in May.

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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