A trip to Jamaica has become the center of a lawsuit involving Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Charles Larke and a Richmond County teacher.
T.W. Josey High School teacher Lori Myles has filed a federal lawsuit against Dr. Larke, alleging the superintendent made sexual advances towards her, and did not consider her for other promotions because she refused those advances.
Wednesday, the board spoke out, saying those allegations have no merit.
A 2001 Richmond County School business trip took place in Jamaica.
According to richmond County Board of Education spokesperson Mechelle Jordan, the idea, organized by former representative George Brown, was to bring schools in Atlanta and Augusta into a sister partnership with a school in Jamaica.
Whatever happened in Jamaica is now the center of a federal lawsuit.
"I was clearly aware from several different sources that this lawsuit was coming, and so it was not a surprise to me," says school board member A.K. Hasan. He was not on the board then, but says lawsuits against the superintendent are adding up.
"Based on the information that I have regarding lawsuits and the potential lawsuits to be filed, I thought before it's all over with we would be spending about $2 million."
On Tuesday, May 16, T.W. Josey teacher Lori Myles filed the lawsuit in federal court against Dr. Charles Larke.
In 2001, Myles and another teacher were picked to go on the Jamaica trip by then Josey principal Horace Lamback. Along with the two teachers, Superintendent Dr. Charles Larke and the director of curriculum from the central office went on the trip.
Myles alleges that Dr. Larke made advances of a sexual and intimate nature toward her in Jamaica.
"We don't automatically assume that the superintendent is guilty," Hasan says. "We have to investigate."
According to school board spokesperson Mechelle Jordan, "The allegations have no merit. The board promotion policy procedures were followed. Each candidate is to go before a screening panel. The screening panel has to recommend a person to the superintendent, who then recommends that person to the board for promotion."
Mrs. Jordan says a screening panel never recommended Myles to Larke for promotion during his tenure.
"We have to look at each independently, judge the validity and respond accordingly," Hasan says.
Richmond County school spokesperson Mechelle Jordan says that taxpayers did not pay for the business trip in 2001 to Jamaica; a company that sponsored the trip paid all expenses.