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Published: Thursday, 10/23/2008

U.S. judge dismisses ex-Mason Consolidated school chief's suit

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ERIE - A lawsuit that made allegations that Mason Consolidated School officials sexually harassed and discriminated against Marlene Mills while she was superintendent of the district has been thrown out of court.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland dismissed the civil complaint against the district on a summary judgment argument made by Mrs. Mills.

Mrs. Mills, 58, who was superintendent from April, 2002, to December, 2006, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Detroit against the district and board member Donald Pearce and former board member Brian Thompson in October, 2007.

She claimed board members usurped her authority and undermined her work, made derogatory comments about her, fostered a hostile work environment, and harassed, demeaned, and verbally attacked her on the basis of her gender.

However, Judge Cleland said that alleged statements made by the defendants were not based on sex or gender and would not have created a hostile work environment.

In a written statement, Superintendent David Drewyor said the district was "very pleased" with the court ruling. "The district's board of education and administration wishes the best for Mrs. Mills in the future, " the statement said.

Mr. Drewyor, who was hired by the district in June, said he and school officials would not have any additional comment on the decision.

Ms. Mills is currently principal at Imagine Madison Avenue School of Arts, a charter school near downtown Toledo. She could not be reached for comment.



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