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Sacramento vice principal to sue school district and West Campus High principal

Dr. Elysse Versher alleged in a complaint that she faced racism from staff just two months into her initial tenure as assistant principal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Outgoing West Campus High School Vice President Elysse Versher stood beside NAACP officials and other community leaders on Wednesday to announce a lawsuit against Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD).

She alleged years of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation due to racism. Complaints that she says were dismissed and inadequately addressed.

The lawsuit comes after Versher announced her resignation earlier this month She said school district officials failed to support her after a racist incident on campus in November where students wrote the "N-word" five times on a wall near her designated parking spot and posted threats to her on social media.

SCUSD officials said on Friday they closed their investigation into the incident, but identified no suspects or motives.

Now a recently-filed lawsuit alleges dozens of racist and sexist incidents that Versher said no person should have to endure. 

"I was degraded, dehumanized, spat on by parents, students and some of my staff. My confidence in the district to keep me physically safe chipped away," she said.

The press conference was the first time Versher spoke publicly for the first time since resigning as vice principal of West Campus High School.  

"I poured my heart, my time, my resources into children who were not biologically mine, because this is my calling," Versher said.

ABC10 reached out to the school district for comment regarding the lawsuit and was provided the response below.

“The Sacramento City Unified School District has not received the referenced complaint. The District has no additional comment on the matter at this time.”

On Wednesday, her attorneys announced a civil lawsuit against Sacramento City Unified School District and her former supervisor, Principal John McMeekin.

The 30-page complaint alleges dozens of disturbing racist incidents by some staff, parents and even students. Attorneys point to a pattern of failure to discipline Caucasian students for racist acts and even gun threats.

"She complains, student's making threats guns on campus- and what does Principal McMeekins do? 'Well, kids are going to be kids,'" said Rodney Diggs, Versher's attorney.

The allegations made in the lawsuit include:

  • A West Campus employee disparaged the high school's Black Student Union in front of her in 2019
  • A student's parent suggested Versher retained her position through affirmative action
  • High school students harassed and threatened Versher over social media and group text messages
  • Multiple instances of racist aggression from students, staff and parents.

She is seeking both financial and non-financial damages from SCUSD and McMeekin, and a jury trial for the following alleged complaints:

  1. Discrimination on the Basis of Race
  2. Retaliation
  3. Failure to Prevent Discrimination and Harassment
  4. Harassment on the Basis of Race
  5. Sexual Harassment
  6. Hostile Work Environment
  7. Violation of Lab. Code § 1102.5
  8. Negligent Hiring, Training, and Retention
  9. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

The outgoing vice principal is set to officially resign on June 17.

WATCH MORE: SCUSD closes investigation into racist targeting of West Campus High School vice principal | Top 10

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