School administrator accuses board member of discrimination

August 23, 2017

LULAC seeking DOJ investigation

Monday night’s Brownfield ISD Board of Trustees meeting opened with a statement from a district administrator accusing a current school board member of discrimination against her.

Nori Banda, Director of Personnel and Operations directed her comments to Timothy Swaringen, who was elected to the board in May.

Swaringen has been vocal about his displeasure with the school district’s top administrators and has used Facebook to share his views several times.

Banda thinks the board member’s words crossed a line.

“I am here today to let my voice be heard on a grievance I filed against Timothy Swaringen whose comments on two of his Facebook posts on July 12 at 5:41 p.m. and another at 5:43 p.m. targeted me and discriminated against me as a Christian Hispanic woman over the age of 40.”

Banda felt that Swaringen had publicly evaluated her performance without authority which is against local policy. Banda stated, “He uses his religion to express himself as if somehow he has superiority over me.”

Banda further stated she has served in education over 30 years with an impeccable record. She stated, “Timothy Swaringen has denied me the right to express my concerns to him and explains he has done so because people who have addressed him are in fear of retaliation.

“What evidence do you have, Timothy Swaringen, that proves that I have retaliated against any staff employee?  I am always respectful to all staff, students, parents and community members.”

Banda stated it was insinuated in Swaringen’s posts that  she was “immoral and unethical and her job performance was a joke.”

“Timothy Swaringen does not follow board policy, even though he has had training, he uses the excuse of people being retaliated on from upper administration and the superintendent. I know for a fact, Timothy Swaringen, that people are afraid of your retaliation on them after seeing your posts and the comments that were made,” stated Banda.

“He should know that targeting a staff member from the rest is bullying and by not allowing a  member to speak up for themselves is against their civil rights.”

Banda stated that Swaringen had violated local policy concerning equity and attitude which states he will be fair, just and impartial in all his decisions and actions.

“The harm alleges that I am being targeted against because of my race, religion, gender and age. I am the only Hispanic female he has blasted on social media.

“I am being discriminated against for my religion in that he recited a Bible verse to give his Facebook post more power to convey his authority over me.

“I am being discriminated and targeted against for my age in that he states he is younger than most … His comments convey that I am too old to be a qualified individual to hold the position of Director of Personnel and Operations.

“His comments have interfered with my work performance and have created an intimidating, threatening and hostile  and even offensive work environment.

“I asked for  four specific reliefs. One that I am not satisfied with is his apology. It appears to have been written by the school lawyer in an email sent to me. I would rather it be a public apology in a School Board meeting without excuses for his actions,  but rather his sincere apology for discriminating and targeting against me for my race, gender, religion and age and emotional and distressful harm he has caused me and my family. I also asked for an investigation into this matter.”

Next up to speak was Robert Rodriguez, District Director of Council 263 of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of West Texas.

“One of my concerns is that we are here to back up Mrs. Banda. She had asked for four requests and those four requests have been granted. But there are issues on social issues that have not been addressed. And those I don’t think can be addressed without an investigation so the (Equal Opportunity Commission) will be contacted on this and also the U.S. Department of Justice will also be involved in looking at an investigation to make sure that all the discrimination gestures that have been made are true.

“Y’all as a School Board I think are responsible for the school. I believe that the problems should be taken care of as quickly as possible. The reason I walk slow is that I had a problem with my leg and on the first of May, I had it amputated. If you have a cancer growing in your organization, take care of that problem to avoid any further growth of problems.

“We are here to back up Mrs. Banda in any issues that may arise regarding the situation that is currently happening in Brownfield. Thank you.”
As per board policy, no response from Swaringen or any other board member was allowed.

To speak at Board meetings, citizens must be signed up and have their paperwork turned in prior to 6:30 p.m. on meeting day. No speaker may speak longer than three minutes and the board may not respond to any of the comments, nor may they act on them unless the subject matter is on the agenda.

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Category: Updates