Suit Alleges Manipulation of Magnet Academies Selection
How selection of students to Magnet Academies is being conducted in Lafayette Parish Schools is the basis of a federal lawsuit filed against the district.
The suit, filed by former employee Azadeh Yazdi, claims that there was favoritism given to some students based on "race, color, friendship, relationship by blood or marriage".
In the past students wanting to attend a particular School of Choice or Magnet Academiy, as they are now called, were put into a lottery system if more children applied for the spots than actual spots were avaialbe.
The claims also include that children "of members of the employment group of the Lafayette Parish School Board" and children "applying in the lottery had siblings already in the lottery" were given spots.
There were several people named in the suit including the following:
- Chief Academic Officer Annette Samec
- Schools of Choice Enrollment/Recruitment Manager Barbara Pippin
- Superintendent Donald Aguillard
- Former Schools of Choice Director Robin Olivier
- World Languages Specialist Tia LeBrun
Reached by KPEL for comment today, Yazdi had the following to say,
"While I was there I pointed out to my supervisors and other administrators numerous irregularities in not only the Schools of Choice and ESL program, but also also other violations of board policy, state statutes and federal laws. I was targeted with disciplinary action and termination as alleged in the lawsuit. The allegations in the lawsuit are an example of some of the biggest concerns I raised and was retaliated against over."
Yazdi also alleges that students who were 'English as a Second Language Students' were urged not to be screened for the programs or even to try to get their students in the programs. There is federal money set aside for such programs.
Other allegations in the suit include that when she spoke up about her issues with how the selections were being made for the Schools of Choice Program, she was retaliated against with disciplinary action, sexual harrassment and fears of being terminated.
Yazdi claims that Samec allegedly told her during one meeting that she (Samec) couldn't stop looking at her (Yazdi's legs). This was allegedly during a meeting when Yazdi was expressing her concerns over how students were being chosen for the program.