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?

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  • EmmaMTF

    >Lesbian runs fine school system, kids are taught well and have greater than average working facilities.

    >>Your lifestyle sickens us. You lesbians always tryin to take the LAWD outta schools and teachin science n stuffs. FIRED.

  • Nathan

    If that is the reason they fired her that’s absurd, she should be given an apology and her job back. Its hard to find great educators and administrators that actually care about the students, to fire someone because of their sexual orientation is old school, bigoted and unproductive…. Arizona.

  • Sohobod

    Why the video. It said nothing. I have wasted 38 seconds of my life (not including the time I have used up writing this complaint).

  • Cam

    If it was something else, then why all the effort made to hide the reasons for not rehiring her?

  • Ruth

    What the hell is wrong with Arizona? I haven’t heard any positive news come from that state in so long…

  • Sid

    I’d say, “Enjoy your lawsuit, idiots,” but I don’t think sexual orientation is protected from job discrimination in AZ. We should probably work on that.

  • Annette

    My daughter is graduating from Paradise Valley High School this year. I have had the opportunity to meet Ms. Davis several times. She is a very professional and kind woman. I have the upmost respect for her and feel very sad about this decision.
    I never knew she is gay. There was never an issue to any students or to any parents that I know of. The information we have heard since this situation on Friday is that several teachers had complained about her.
    Ms. Davis dedicated herself to making students the best they could be and demanded that the teachers do the same. In Arizona the Principal does not have any real authority over the teachers. When she attempted to “discipline” them they turned to the school board.

  • Macmantoo

    @Sid: While she may not be protected under Arizona’s backwards laws, she is protected under the Federal Laws. And since the School district accepts Federal money, I think she could sue in Federal Court.

  • Jeff

    Arizona is basically Nazi Germany now so anything and everything horrible is possible there.

  • PTBoat


    There are no federal protections for gay people and certainly not in the work place. This is a reason that people are fighting to so hard to get ENDA passed, but the GOP is standing firmly in its way.

  • Doubtful

    I doubt she was fired because she’s Lesbian. Look into her work record and other factors before playing the LGBT discrimination card.

  • Right ON!

    Right on PTBoat! We LGBT people NEED EDNA and it’s a way more important right that helps way more LGBT people than same sex marriage does.

  • dvlaries

    Arizona is a fucking outhouse with a state government.

  • Rovi

    Somethings not right up there.

    Arizona is not Alabama, need more facts and hopefully some adults will step in.

  • Kl

    Nazi Germany, really? I am biased because I had the misfortune of having to relocate to az some years ago. Likening it to nazi Germany etc displays your capability of being able to present an argument (and it’s not that hard to with Arizona politics). Surely, I am as miffed as anyone with Phoenix’s politics, but there are other parts(Tucson) that respect people’s ethnicity, gender and orientation. That said, I have planned for some time to get the hell out of here: wish me luck!

  • Dean Edwards

    The decision not to renew her contract had nothing to do with being a lesbian. She served at the pleasure of the school board. It will do no good for her handful of supporters to make legal threats to the board members. There is absolutely no proof of gender discrimination. Move on and get a life.

  • manono

    I just want to add that I came across this website today:

    It is a website (not a news source) with a biased, but well-documented assertion that a teacher in Gilbert was harassed, manipulated, slandered, and ultimately fired for reporting bullying in GPS, all for what seems to be not falling in line w/ their lackadaisical attitude towards bullying, bigotry, and racism in her classroom. They also alluded to her sexual life in an e-mail calling her a “lesbian”, (which is what one of her 3rd grade students was being bullied for).

    It’s a VERY long read, but my conclusion from reading this is, nothing has been done to give this woman justice just yet, her career has been put in jeopardy as of a year ago, and the kids in Gilbert, AZ are the ones to suffer, especially children in a delicate situation regarding being bullied for their sexuality.

    I honestly don’t understand why teachers and administration aren’t working together for children. It seems as if the rest of us are watching the politics play out, bewildered at what to do with our current system. Private or public, there are massive amounts of corruption, collusion, and discrimination within our schools that has to STOP. This is an embarrassment to the state of AZ.

    I really recommend, if you have to the time, to read the link I found today, because it gives an extremely interesting glimpse into what that teacher was put through, something we only seem to see when it’s reported to us by the news.

    If you are an AZ resident, act, keep a close eye on the administrations of your schools! Corruption is EVERYWHERE. These kinds of people are treating OUR SCHOOLS like COUNTRY CLUBS! I have no idea what Sarah Green is doing now, but I am enraged at what she went through, as a teacher, just to stop bullying in her class. Spread the word! And support Cynthia Davis!

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