Jury awards $1.7 million to Boston teacher who alleged discrimination

Charles Sherman Neal says he was retaliated against and fired in 2016

A jury has found that school officials in Boston retaliated against a teacher for exercising his legal right to raise concerns about workplace discrimination without fear of retribution, awarding him $1.7 million.

The Boston Globe reports that Charles Sherman Neal was the only Black male teacher at the Boston Community Leadership Academy, where he was working to start a gym program, and he repeatedly raised concerns about being discriminated against, including in complaints with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. School district leaders fired him in 2016.

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After five years of legal wrangling, a Suffolk Superior Court jury found last week that the headmaster and other school officials retaliated against him. The jury, however, did not agree with his discrimination claims.

A Boston schools spokesperson declined to comment, noting officials are reviewing the decision with legal counsel.

Neal was hired at the school part-time in 2008. He raised concerns that the school’s hiring practices were racially discriminatory and was given a permanent teaching position in 2012, according to court documents. He continued to raise concerns that he was treated differently than white teachers.

Neal’s lawyer said officials mishandled the whole thing, from the beginning to the end.

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