Dr. Johnson has submitted over 17,000 pages of data and rebuttals to the many allegations that have been lodged against her since “things went South for her” at Maupin. In fact, that is a direct quote from her former principal, HM, where she basically admits there had been a target placed on Dr. Johnson’s back as soon as word got back to her that she had said “Black people don’t get treated very well around here.” Listen to that admission around the 48 minute mark of the following audio recording of one of those “due process” meetings that took place in 2019. It’s also Exhibit F in the #TwosDayTrial.
HM may have set her sights on removing Dr. Johnson, but she didn’t act alone. In fact, KC, the Black principal who was brought in to replace HM upon her “retirement” (HM graduated high school the same year I did, which would make her about 54 or 55 when she retired), acknowledged during her deposition that she was informed that they were trying to get rid of Dr. Johnson. It seems only logical that KC would follow through on those efforts once she was made aware of them by district administrators, would it not? She was only doing her job, or at least what she thought was her job. The district representatives will try to argue that it can’t be discrimination, because the principal over her when she was demoted and finally pushed out at Maupin was black. When white administrators put a Black person between them and the Black person they have targeted, we call that pattern or practice creating a Black barrier or buffer.
But that’s not all! More evidence came in the form of a written confession and threat, rolled into one. This smoking gun text message was sent by former Maupin kindergarten teacher SK to FJ, a fellow teacher who had been honest about what she had witnessed during an internal JCPS investigation. SK had heard that FJ had been speaking about her and wanted to send a message. The full text of the confession and threat can be found here.
Among other harmful behaviors, SK, a white kindergarten teacher had reportedly been overheard calling Black students in her care “monkeys, dummies and little shits.” After efforts to report SK to school-level administration fell on deaf ears, Dr. Johnson reported the incidents to Child Protective Services, as she is required to do by law. On October 18, 2019, after SK learned it was Dr. Johnson who reported her to CPS, she informed her she would be filing a grievance against her for “issues of intimidation and bullying.”
After receiving the contents of the district’s internal investigation report through open records, finding the allegations against SK to be unsubstantiated, we shared the report with teachers and parents who had been involved at the time. Several of them told us they felt the results were manipulated to side with the white teacher who had been represented by the teachers’ union and agreed to meet with investigative reporters at WFPL and KYCIR.
Listen to these Maupin teachers and parent explain how it all went down during this interview with local investigative and education reporters. Several others have come foward with confirmation as well as similar stories.
For example, PM, a Black substitute teacher at Maupin, sent the following letter to principal KC.
“It kind of feels like slavery around here.”Black teacher to Black principal
Let’s not overlook the role district Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio has played, and the evidence we have to support it. In 2019, I met with him along with Tyra Walker, and I informed him of the aspects of her case that were still possibly reconcilable. I let him know she had been targeted. I also let him know that there was not an adequate process for submitting concerns without them becoming grievances, and I sent emails letting him and Jodi Renn know the internal investigation was flawed. He signed her letter of demotion anyway. (I am happy to provide links to this evidence to those who promise not to share it publicly until it can be redacted.)
As I revisit these examples at Maupin, a 97% Black Elementary school in Louisville’s West End, I can’t help but wonder how things got this out of control, and the only answer I could come up with is that administration must have recognized that they were complicit in allowing Ms. Stoltz’s behavior to be supported, which caused them to continue to double down on their blame of the “problem” on the Black educator of colour in order to cover their lily white butts, instead of simply reflecting on how their behaviors could cause harm and making an effort to do better. And now they have done so for so long, they must be hoping they would wear Dr. Johnson out or cause her to run out of money or accept a settlement offer, as they have with so many other cases. That’s not going to happen, because I’m pretty sure she’s not doing this for the money, but to bring change for Black children, and to dismantle systemic racism in JCPS. They have kicked the can down the road for so long, they don’t have any more options but to give Dr. Johnson her day in court. That day is Tuesday, Feb. 22. #TwosdayTrial
Every effort has been made to provide accurate information related to this case, which begins in Judge Olu Stevens’ courtroom on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 at 9:30 am. If you feel any of the information is misleading or inaccurate, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel you may have witnessed or experienced racial discrimination similar to the patterns or practices identified here, please complete our survey. To make a donation to support Dr. Johnson’s legal fees, unpaid time off work, or trial coverage costs, please visit www.dearjcps.com/donate.