A controversial shakeup at Pine Crest School, detailed in this week's feature, started shortly after Hank Battle took the helm as president in January of this year. Teachers were leaving, and those who remained were worried for their jobs. Battle dispatched his deputy, David Bowman, to inform some teachers that their one-year contracts wouldn't be renewed. Several of the teachers were advanced in age, and they decided to explore age-discrimination charges.
The attorney they contacted, William Amlong of Fort Lauderdale, wrote up discrimination charges to send to the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Then, crucially, he called the Sun-Sentinel and gave them the story. Suddenly, Pine Crest's cloistered troubles were everybody's business.
Amlong says the EEOC has taken an interest in the case and will be making "site visits" to Pine Crest and statistical analyses of which teachers stayed and left. If they find evidence of discrimination in those numbers -- that faculty and staff were let go solely because they were deemed too old -- the ex-employees and the school could negotiate a settlement. Ultimately, if that fails, the EEOC could sue.
Amlong says the help of the EEOC is important for his side of the case because the teachers may have signed contracts that waived their right to a jury trial in the event of a labor dispute. EEOC itself, he points out, never signed such a contract.
Here are the eight charges filed by Amlong. Many of them note that faculty and staff members were told that they no longer "fit the vision" that Battle had for Pine Crest.
Pine Crest Discrimination Charges
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The school has not provided New Times with a comment about the charges.