A former Middleton High School employee is suing the school district, alleging she was passed over for a job because she is a white woman and was ultimately fired in retaliation after lodging an internal discrimination complaint.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court Tuesday, claims the Middleton-Cross Plains School District violated Ruth Herbin’s civil rights in the job search process, during which dean of students Matthew Ecklund allegedly told her that she had “no chance” at filling vacant positions at the high school because “we need more diversity.”
According to the lawsuit, Ecklund, who Herbin worked under as an assistant, allegedly told her “we need some big black men working here” when she expressed interest in applying for one of three openings in a different position at the high school.
The jobs had been held by two black men and a Latina woman before they left the school, the lawsuit said, and the district hired two black men and a black woman to fill the jobs.
According to data submitted to the state Department of Public Instruction, 92.6% of district employees in the 2017-18 school year identified as white.