Teacher says she was fired for dating black man, associating with black staff members

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A former Edgewater High School math teacher, Audrey Dudek, is claiming that she was fired after the school found out that she was dating a black man, according to a lawsuit filed last week.

Dudek was told when she was let go from the school that he termination was due to budget cuts, but there were no budget reductions that year that would have made firing a teacher necessary.

“The budget didn’t go down in that period of time. Ms. Dudek is a math teacher. There’s a critical need for math teachers at Orange County Public Schools, so the district’s explanation does not hold water,” attorney Suzanne Tzuanos said.

Dudek said that she believed the real reason was that she didn’t stick to the racially segregated groups that her colleagues did and was even ridiculed for associating with black staff members.

“It hurt tremendously,” Dudek said. “Part of the reason you become a teacher is you don’t see color — a person is a person.”

The lawsuit further states that school officials were “shocked and offended” at the news that her new husband, Stacey, was black. Furthermore, her classroom was referred to as “Club Audrey” because of the “black music” she played. Once, she was even subjected to a racist skit in which faculty members wore blackface.

“The assistant principal complained to her to her face, talking to, and I quote, those people referring to black members of the faculty and staff,” Tzuanos said.

The Florida Commission on Human Rights has since looked into the case and believes that Dudek has a case that she was “treated differently based on her gender and race association.”

As for the school, they are denying all allegations. “The district denies all allegations of discrimination by Ms. Dudek,” wrote spokeswoman Shari Bobinski in an email. “The district will not comment any further due to pending litigation.”

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