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JCPS Faces Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination

Kevan Sheppard is one of six African-American plaintiffs suing JCPS for racial discrimination.
Kevan Sheppard is one of six African-American plaintiffs suing JCPS for racial discrimination.

Featured image: Kevan Sheppard is one of six African-American plaintiffs suing JCPS for racial discrimination.

Six Jefferson County Public School employees are filing a class action lawsuit against JCPS alleging racial discrimination.

The African American plaintiffs say the JCPS Operations Division has repeatedly passed up qualified black employees for promotions and failed to respond to complaints of racism in the workplace. The plaintiffs are employed as transportation coordinators, custodians and maintenance workers.

At a news conference Thursday, plaintiff Troy Duncan described a culture of nepotism and discriminatory hiring practices in the JCPS Operations Division.

"They are able to pinpoint who they bring in and out, and separate, so to bring in discouragement to people like us to not even apply for jobs where we know that we’re educated enough, experienced enough and have the skills to do those jobs," Duncan said.

The complaint alleges that JCPS has violated the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Enforcement Act of 1871.

Plaintiff Kevan Sheppard said he believes he and the other five plaintiffs represent many more black employees of JCPS who have faced discrimination.

"The only reason we don’t have more numbers here today is because the people are either at work ... or worried about the retaliation that’s going to come as a result of us being seen here today," Sheppard, a JCPS custodian, said.

The plaintiffs are represented by the law office of Attorney Teddy Gordon, who has filed a slew of lawsuits against JCPS employees.  Unlike other lawsuits recently filed by Gordon's office earlier this year, the complaint names the school district itself as a defendant. JCPS Chief Operations Officer Michael Raisor, and other staff in the Operations Services Division, are also defendants.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional threshold of the Jefferson Circuit Court, punitive damages and court fees.

Read the complaint below:

Liz Schlemmer is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.

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