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Younger v. District of Columbia Public Schools

United States District Court, District of Columbia

November 28, 2018

CAMILLA YOUNGER, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         During a two-day bench trial on September 11 and 12, 2018, Camilla Younger and Tanishia Williams testified about the events surrounding Ms. Younger's application and interview for the position of art teacher at the Youth Engagement Academy, part of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Ms. Younger alleges that age discrimination caused Principal Williams to withdraw her offer of a position at the Youth Engagement Academy. As Plaintiff, Ms. Younger bears the burden of proof to show that it is more likely than not that she did not get the position at the Youth Engagement Academy because of her age. After closely considering the evidence presented by Ms. Younger and DCPS, the Court finds that Ms. Younger has not met her burden; it will enter judgment in favor of the District of Columbia.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Ms. Younger was employed by the District of Columbia Public Schools from approximately 1992 to 2010. 9/11/18 Tr. at 34.

         2. At all relevant times, Ms. Younger was a certified art teacher and attendance officer. Id. at 17.

         3. Ms. Younger worked as a full-time art teacher at H.D. Woodson High School in Northwest Washington, D.C. until the school's grades were dispersed to other DCPS schools to allow for renovations to the building. Id. at 35-36.

         4. Ms. Younger was transferred with the 9th Grade to Ron Brown Middle School in Northeast Washington, D.C. Id. at 36. The Woodson 9th Grade was put on the third floor of the Middle School, requiring Ms. Younger to climb the stairs frequently. Id. at 37.

         5. Ron Brown Middle School was an uncomfortable environment for Ms. Younger. During the 2008-2009 school year, she requested a transfer from her principal, Daren Slate. Id. at 38. Principal Slate convinced Ms. Younger to remain at Ron Brown Middle School for the 2009-2010 school year, promising that if the situation did not improve he would grant her a transfer after that school year. Id.

         6. Ms. Younger was injured at Ron Brown Middle School in the fall of 2009 and did not return to Ron Brown after October for the rest of the 2009-2010 school year. Id. at 39-40.

         7. During that same 2009-2010 school year, Ms. Younger was also working as a part-time art teacher in the evenings at Roosevelt STAY High School in Northwest Washington, D.C. Id. at 40-41. A STAY high school in the DCPS system is a School To Aid Youth; it offers evening classes for older students and adults. Id.; see also 9/12/18 Tr. at 11.

         8. During the 2009-2010 school year, Ms. Younger sought a different school at which she might teach art so that she could transfer away from Ron Brown. 9/11/18 Tr. at 41.

         9. On July 5, 2010, Whitney Miller, DCPS School Staffing Specialist, advised Ms. Younger that there was an opening for an art teacher at the Youth Engagement Academy. Younger Ex. 7 at 11 (July 5, 2010 Email to Camilla Younger from Whitney Miller); see also 9/11/18 Tr. at 42.

         10. Tanishia Williams, then known as Tanishia Williams-Minor, was the principal at Spingarn STAY High School during the 2009-2010 school year. 9/11/18 Tr. at 43; 9/12/18 Tr. at 8-9. Principal Williams was appointed to be the first principal at the Youth Engagement Academy, a daytime high school, when it opened in September 2010 for the 2010-2011 school year. 9/12/18 Tr. at 8. Sometime after September 2010, the Youth Engagement Academy was renamed Washington Metropolitan High School. 9/11/18 Tr. at 44. Both names are used in the record.

         11. Ms. Younger was interviewed by Principal Williams for the open position of art teacher at the Youth Engagement Academy on at least one occasion on July 12, 2010. Id. at 45-46; see also Younger Ex. 7 at 2 (July 11, 2010 Email ...


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