White Ann Arbor principal sues district for $5 million over racial discrimination

A school principal in Ann Arbor is suing the district for millions of dollars. She's claiming her bosses discriminated against her because she's white.

FOX 2 spoke to her attorney, who said what happened to Shannon Blick is an example of how minority administrators are receiving preferential treatment in the district.

"It doesn't make a difference if you are white or black, the law still says you can't use race in an unlawful way," said attorney Will Tishkoff. But he claims that is exactly what happened to his client, Blick - a 39-year-old white principal at Ann Arbor's Lawton Elementary School.

She claims she is the victim of discrimination by African-American administrators who forced her into paid leave, stripped her of her duties and banned her from a public school board meeting without explanation or justification.

"She was never told why she was suspended and told to leave the premises and stop doing her duties on April 26," said Tishkoff. "(She was) simply told to get out. So she is on suspension now - we have her personnel files and there is no evidence in there that shows basis for a suspension."

In fact, the complaint claims Blick was told in an email she was being placed on paid leave and was directed not to contact any students, parents or staff regarding the matter. If she didn't, she could face discipline and termination.

When a group of parents told her they were going to speak at a school board meeting on her behalf, administrators told her to make sure they don't, and she wasn't allowed to attend either.

"There are some things that happened in this lawsuit more extreme than I have seen - like the First Amendment issues I have talked about, directing a principal not to go to a public meeting of a school board," Tishkoff said.

An African-American assistant principal has since been placed in her position.

Blick, who had a pristine record and strong reputation, has now filed a lawsuit against the Ann Arbor Public School District for $5 million. 

Although her attorney says Blick has been humiliated, falsely accused regarding her conduct and remains on indefinite leave, she also hopes to have her job reinstated.

"She has been traumatized severely," he said.

A spokesperson from the Ann Arbor School District said it does not comment on pending legal matters.