Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed Against Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools


Photo: The Graphic

Source: Law Offices of Attorney Arnold J. Lizana III

Attorneys for Amherst Middle School teacher Lamicko “Meka” Magee filed a federal lawsuit in Springfield District Court on April 5 for defamation and violations of civil rights law and violation of the Amherst Regional Public Schools’ (ARPS) own policies against discrimination, harassment, and bullying. Named as defendants in the suit are the Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools and individually, former School Superintendent Michael Morris, former Assistant School Superintendent Doreen Cunningham, and Interim School Superintendent Doug Slaughter. Magee is a finalist for the position of principal at Amherst Regional Middle School.

The lawsuit charges that Magee, an African African woman, was retaliated against for advocating for marginalized students experiencing discrimination in the ARPS school system. She alleges that she was also targeted with retaliation for filing grievances and challenging unfair labor practices.

The lawsuit follows two charges investigated by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) back in August and November 2023, alleging violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and M.G.L. c. 151B.

Magee is represented by Civil Rights Attorney Arnold Lizana (Law Offices of Arnold J. Lizana III). Attorney Lizana explained, “Defaming educators who courageously advocate for marginalized students is not only immoral, it is illegal. This lawsuit was filed to hold accountable those who attempt to silence our educators with defamation and other retaliatory tactics. We will fight relentlessly until justice prevails.”

View the complaint here.
Read additional reporting in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

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1 thought on “Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Filed Against Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools

  1. Someone recently asked me what the hell is going on in Amherst’s schools. I am not sure, and I trust I am not alone in finding these suits and counter suits confusing, no less so after reading the latest 27 page complaint against the school system. Can anyone help here?

    As I understand it, a minority ARMS administrator hired councilors affiliated with her church, (who themselves had nepotism issues), and who advocated “praying away the gay” to distressed students they counciled, and then accused another minority staff of practicing “witch craft” when she tried to call out that behavior?! (Witch craft? Are we back in the 17th century?) An ARMS superintendent went to bat for this administrator? Who all have claimed severe health ramifications from the stress of all this? The town is facing how many discrimination suits, with how much in compensatory damages? Is the town insured for this stuff? Has Amherst become the equivalent of an ATM for the legal profession? Could the claims and counter claims, apparently coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum, both be settled with judgements against the town? Will this latest twist inspire a sequel to the recent embarrassing New Yorker article about Amherst?

    This crazy debacle is already costing the town heaps of money in legal defense fees, even before any judgements are rendered. Beyond the monetary expense, our town’s reputation is in tatters. Our progressive politics, formerly a source of pride, is now a laughing stock. Our school system, previously consistently ranked in the top 10 state-wide, and a drawing card for people pondering a move here, has fallen precipitously, and is now poised to drain the town of millions of dollars. Will this make town a better place, or will it primarily serve as a way for the plaintiffs and their attorneys to retire early?

    America has increasingly turned into an overly litigious, hyper-polarized society. Blame overzealous tort lawyers. Blame media that provides “alternative facts” to those for whom reality is discomfiting. Blame the narcissism of users, and the algorithms, of social media that encourage tribalism and echo divisive falsehoods. Blame the pace of modern life that stifles citizens’ ability to keep up on the news and participate in civic discourse. And blame the “blame game”. While we are all pointing our fingers in judgement of each other, we lose our ability to work together for a better world. The world can never work totally the way every individual wants it to, but it can be a better place if we devote our energies toward finding our common goals and interests and working toward solutions. How? By starting with compassion, a desire to learn from and talk with those with whom we disagree.

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