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Rockwood School District pays $175K to settle discrimination suit with former DEI director

The Rockwood School District Administrative Center on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Eureka, Mo.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Rockwood School District settled an employee discrimination lawsuit last month with its former educational equity and diversity director. Brittany Hogan, who is Black, worked for the district for nearly a decade and resigned in April 2021.

Rockwood School District and its former diversity and equity director settled an employee discrimination lawsuit last month.

Documents provided to St. Louis Public Radio show the school district paid $175,000 to Brittany Hogan through an insurance policy. The amount included attorney fees and other costs.

The February lawsuit filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court claimed that Rockwood’s administration ignored Hogan’s complaints of racist abuse by district parents.

Hogan claimed she received threatening messages by email, phone and social media for promoting “Stamped,” an anti-racism book, in December 2020 through the district’s diversity and equity Twitter account. The book was a part of the district’s One Read program that encouraged middle and high school students and the community to read a single book as a district. According to the lawsuit, Hogan had no role in choosing “Stamped,” but district officials brought her in to discuss ways to promote the book for the reading program.

The lawsuit claimed the district violated Hogan’s rights by allowing race-based discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Hogan claimed that the district did not take her grievances seriously and that the administration just watched as “angry” parents threatened her and other Black staff members.

After complaining about the abuse and harassment over time, Hogan claimed that instead of intervening, district officials removed some of her job responsibilities and did not allow her to effectively carry out tasks. She argued that the isolation from the district created a hostile work environment.

“Brittany is looking forward to putting this incident behind her. The settlement will allow her to focus on future endeavors,” said Javad Khazaeli, Hogan’s attorney, in a statement. “Brittany continues her work centering and protecting the most vulnerable students and hopes her suit will allow that work to continue in Rockwood.”

District officials said they could not comment on the settlement but are focusing on providing a safe and welcoming environment for students, staff and community members.

Hogan began working with the district in 2012 as an equity facilitator, and she resigned as the director of educational equity and diversity in April 2021. According to her Linkedin profile, she currently works as an education and equity consultant.

Andrea covers race, identity & culture at St. Louis Public Radio.