You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Veteran Atlanta teachers say “culture change” meant age discrimination

Former Atlanta teachers claim in a federal age discrimination lawsuit that hundreds of older educators were forced out of their jobs in Atlanta Public Schools as a new administration tried to turn around local schools after a cheating scandal.

“After the big cheating scandal they brought in someone and basically her philosophy was, I’m going to change the culture of APS,” said Lori Hamilton, an attorney representing the teachers. “And that meant out with the old.”

The school district has denied it discriminated against older teachers and said in court filings that any adverse employment decisions were “the result of legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.” An Atlanta Public Schools spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment this week.

More than 60 percent of Atlanta teachers were over 40 when Superintendent Meria Carstarphen was hired in 2014, a percentage that remained unchanged as of last year, the district said in court filings.

But the teachers who filed the suit claim the district “cultivated an environment that is openly hostile to teachers over the age of 40.”

“APS routinely keeps very close supervision on older teachers in hopes of finding something wrong, gives them worse evaluations than younger and less experienced teachers, reassigns them to schools that are more difficult to work in, tells them that they impact the budget and pension fund too much, and repeatedly makes demeaning and derogatory statements to its older teachers,” the suit claims.

Teachers named in the suit say they weren’t given the chance to apply for open jobs after their positions were eliminated, and they didn’t get access to the same training or equipment as younger teachers.

The teachers want Atlanta Public Schools to stop the alleged discrimination, award back pay and damages and offer them their jobs back.

The teachers’ case recently cleared an initial legal hurdle to being considered a class-action lawsuit, allowing lawyers to send out notices to other teachers potentially affected.

In a separate pending lawsuit, another group of former Atlanta educators is suing the school district in connection with the decision to hire charter school groups to manage several low-performing schools.

Employees at the school currently run by a charter school group lost their jobs — though some were eventually hired back — and dozens more are expected to lose their jobs in the coming years as more schools come under outside management.

In the suit, the former educators say hiring the charter school groups violated their tenure rights as well as state laws governing the creation of charter schools.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Education

Atlanta school plan could transform city — or leave families stranded
Atlanta school plan could transform city — or leave families stranded

Atlanta is in the midst of a complex, expensive effort to improve the city’s worst schools. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, with the school board’s backing, has hired charter school groups to run some schools, while the system closes and consolidates others and spends tens of millions to improve other low-performing schools. But with...
More schools try yoga despite religious controversy
More schools try yoga despite religious controversy

Despite a backlash by some parents against yoga in a Cobb County elementary school, the ancient Eastern practice has been quietly embraced as a teaching aid by other metro Atlanta school districts. A federal lawsuit says Christian parents pressured Cobb leaders to rid Bullard Elementary School of yoga, triggering an administrative sanction against...
Ex-DeKalb Schools employee faces charges for striking student
Ex-DeKalb Schools employee faces charges for striking student

A former DeKalb County School District employee is facing charges after he allegedly struck a student at McLendon Elementary School in an incident in April, the third incident involving employee misconduct to surface this week. Frederico Bryant, 40, resigned from the school district on May 12, school district officials said responding to an email...
Gwinnett high school seniors help others while exploring potential career paths
Gwinnett high school seniors help others while exploring potential career paths

Shiloh High School’s graduation ceremony is set for Sunday, but for a group of seniors, they can also lay claim to being trailblazers on their campus.   The 16 students completed the International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme. Shiloh was the first Gwinnett school to implement the program. The students gained experience in...
Harvard-bound DeKalb grad looks ahead because immigrant parents left all behind
Harvard-bound DeKalb grad looks ahead because immigrant parents left all behind

In a way, Yusuf Azizi going to Harvard is his parents’ American dream realized. The 17-year-old, who graduated as Cross Keys High School’s valedictorian Thursday, said his success is fueled by a decision his parents made to leave Afghanistan and sacrifice promising careers to make a better life in the U.S. for a family they had yet...
More Stories