BAD EDUCATION

Was A Popular, Well-Performing Arizona Principal Fired Because She’s A Lesbian?

Parents are fuming at Paradise Valley High School in Arizona, where a school board voted 5-0 last Thursday not to renew Principal Cynthia Davis’ contract at the end of the semester. They were so mad that the board wouldn’t give them answers that cop cars and a police helicopter had to be brought in to escort the board members safely out of the school, reports the Arizona Republic.

And some think Davis might’ve been dismissed for being gay, says the Tucson Citizen. The Republic notes that Davis’ four-year performance as a principal had routinely received above-average marks, starting off with a “highly performing” label in ’07-’08 and ending with a perfectly acceptable “B” grade under a new system last year.

Reports the Citizen:

On Friday, community member Shelly Hickerson came forward with a letter she had written to the district administration, including Superintendent James Lee, on March 11 praising Davis’ work as principal. In the letter, Hickerson says that a governing-board member had “aggressively” questioned Hickerson on whether she approved of the selection of Davis as principal in 2008 and “… told me she was concerned about her [Davis’] lifestyle.”

Davis said she learned of the allegation of the “lifestyle” comment on Friday.

“I have lived alone since 2005 but I have been in gay relationships prior to that. I have always separated my private and professional lives,” she said Friday night. “The only thing that led to my belief that this may be a factor is the information revealed by a community member today.

“I never wanted to believe that this could be the issue but I guess I was wrong. I don’t like this. People should be judged on who they are as a person, not their orientation. This has nothing to do with the job I have done as a principal.”

Judging from the extreme reaction of angry parents, the school board seems to be trying to cover up the fact that they dismissed a perfectly good principal. But was it Davis’ sexual orientation that the board didn’t like, or something else they’re not telling us?