GROVEPORT, Ohio (WCMH) — The Groveport Madison Local School District Board of Education disputes a U.S. Department of Justice ruling that will cost the district $200,000 for violating a former employee’s civil rights.

In a statement, the board “disputes the unproven factual allegations that the Department of Justice set forth in its complaint.”

The settlement, filed June 16, resolves the department’s complaint alleging that the Board violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it discriminated and retaliated against former Groveport Madison High School assistant principal Amon-Ra Dobbins.

Title VII is a federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. It prohibits retaliation against employees for opposing employment practices that are discriminatory under Title VII.

According to the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Sothern District of Ohio, Dobbins claimed he was unfairly disciplined after he said the school district’s dress code was being implemented in a way that discriminated against African-American students, claiming the district’s retaliation against him reached the point of him being fired from his job.

“No employee should face discipline or reprisals for filing a complaint regarding a dress code policy that may be causing harm to Black students,” said assistant attorney general Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We stand with those brave employees who oppose discrimination in the workplace and who work to ensure equal opportunity in all aspects of their jobs.”

The settlement reached between Dobbins and the district will pay him $200,000 in back pay and compensatory damages.

“The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by the Board or any District employee,” the district wrote in its statement. “In fact, the Board disputes any and all misconduct asserted against it and its employees by Mr. Dobbins and the federal government, as it has throughout these proceedings.”

In addition to the payment, the school board must develop and submit to the United States for approval, its discrimination and retaliation policies, complaint investigation procedures, and proposed training that will be used by the Board and school district. That training would then be required for all board members and district employees.

The district’s full statement, a response to a request for comment from NBC4, is below:

This responds to your request for information regarding the Complaint and other documents filed by the United States of America and the Department of Justice on June 16, 2022 concerning former Groveport Madison Schools employee, Amon-Ra Dobbins, and the resolution reached by the parties. The parties submitted a Consent Decree, to which the Department of Justice and the Board agreed, to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for its final approval and entry on the same date that the Department of Justice filed its complaint. Through that Decree, the Board stated its denial of any unlawful conduct.

The Board disputes the unproven factual allegations that the Department of Justice set forth in its complaint, particularly as they relate to actions that are attributed to individuals identified in the complaint. Moreover, the Board is committed to maintaining an equitable, inclusive, and safe environment for all students, staff and community stakeholders.

The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by the Board or any District employee. In fact, the Board disputes any and all misconduct asserted against it and its employees by Mr. Dobbins and the federal government, as it has throughout these proceedings. The settlement allows the Board to avoid the burdens of protracted litigation and other legal proceedings so that it and its employees can get back to the business of educating students and serving students’ best interests.

Groveport-Madison school board

The settlement reached between Dobbins and the district is below.