Minority employees are being retaliated against and threatened with the loss of their jobs because of the pending Human Rights Commission complaint against Fayette County Public Schools, William Saunders, president of the Lexington chapter of the NAACP, told the school board at a Monday meeting.
NAACP officials did not provide specifics but said the lack of minority hiring was also a big problem.
NAACP members have appeared at at least two other school board meetings to press for change.
"We are putting you on notice this evening that this conversation will not go away and will not be swept under the carpet neither," Saunders said. "The NAACP and other community leaders will continue our quest to ensure that all employees are treated equally and fairly and given the same opportunities as their peers in the FCPS school district."
Of particular concern is that of 115 central office staff members, only 18 percent are minority, despite the fact that the student population is 46 percent minority, said NAACP member Alvin Seals. He said a lack of transparency was a problem.
Minority representation on the cabinet of district leaders has fallen to 15 percent this semester, the lowest since 2012, Seals said.
Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm responded Tuesday: "Our school district is committed to consistently treating all employees with fairness, respect and dignity. And if there are instances where that is not happening, we need to be made aware of the issues and we will address them head-on."
Helm told the Herald-Leader last month that district officials were committed to recruiting and retaining a diversified workforce. She said then that the district was not satisfied with data and was actively working to improve the numbers.
Anthony Everett, pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, said the problems were systemic.
The Lexington-Fayette County Human Rights Commission has filed a discrimination complaint against Fayette County Public Schools.
Executive director Raymond Sexton said Tuesday the investigation was continuing. Sexton previously said the complaint was filed in January after he had received several complaints alleging that district employees were victims of race discrimination.
Saunders said there were several departments at central office as well as within the schools where there are no minorities or they hold mostly support staff or non-management positions. There are cabinet members who do not have any minorities as part of their management team, he said. There are cabinet members who do not have minorities in their departments at all, Saunders said.
"The leadership within the school district as well as the school board has demonstrated by their non-action that they are not champions of diversity nor inclusion," said Saunders.
The district continues to practice discriminatory patterns against minorities in areas such as salary and compensation, hiring and retention, said Saunders.
He said the NAACP would be supporting all efforts for information to be turned over to the state Office of Education Accountability, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Human Rights Commission.
NAACP members hope that the recently hired associate director of minority recruitment and retention will play a vital role in ensuring an equitable and diverse pool of candidates.