Minneapolis (WCO) – A former middle school principal in Marshall, Minnesota, sued the local district alleging that she was removed from her position after she included a rainbow pride flag in the school cafeteria.
The flag representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gay people has raised a group of employees, parents, students and a local pastor in Marshall, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday in US District Court. In July 2021, the school’s principal, Mary-Kate Thomas, was removed from her position and demoted to a special projects position.
Thomas has been a teacher and principal for more than three decades and principal for 15 years at Marshall Middle School. Thomas put the pride flag in the cafeteria in January 2020 as part of the MMS Embedding Project. The complaint stated that the flag raising was to make members of minority or marginalized communities feel welcome.
The complaint alleges that the school district’s actions came after Thomas resisted sexual harassment from a school board member in 2019.
Thomas seeks a jury trial, damages, and reinstatement of the middle school principal’s position.
MPS School Principal Jeremy Williams said Tuesday that the school district denies any allegations of discriminatory behavior.
Marshall Public Schools is committed to the education of every child and has strong policies and practices against discrimination against students and staff. The School District is committed to creating a respectful, inclusive and safe learning and work environment for students, staff, and our families. While the school cannot comment on the specific allegations in the complaint, the school district vehemently denies any allegation of discriminatory behavior. The school will vigorously defend itself against these allegations.”