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Eugene 4J School District publicly disciplines unnamed employee

4J School Board members meet on Feb. 21, 2024.
Rebecca Hansen-White
4J School Board members meet on Feb. 21, 2024.

The Eugene 4J School board has voted to publicly discipline an employee for retaliation, but won’t say who that person is.

During the Wednesday meeting, board member Jenny Jonak addressed allegations of race and gender discrimination that were made against an employee, but she said the district did not find evidence to support those claims.

“But the allegations of retaliation following protected activity are sustained and a letter of reprimand will be placed in the responding party’s personnel file, and the responding party will be required to complete training on retaliation,” she said.

Protected activity can be several things under Federal law – such as discussing salary and labor issues with fellow employees, asking for disability accommodations or the act of making a complaint of discrimination itself.

The vote to reprimand an employee comes weeks after the Eugene Weekly reported the district had investigated superintendent Andy Dey for allegations of bullying and discrimination.

Board chair Maya Rabasa declined to name the employee at this time, citing executive session confidentiality and referred to the school board's statement which was released on Wednesday. The statement noted that, while "there was insufficient evidence presented to prove racial or gender discrimination," it did indicate that "corrective action has been taken."

The statement also addressed community concerns:

"It is clear that investigating these serious concerns has weighed heavily on the complainant, the subject, members of this Board, and our district as a whole. We acknowledge the trust that the complainant placed in the board and the vulnerability demonstrated by raising their concerns. We also recognize the need to reassure our community that such concerns are taken seriously and thoroughly reviewed to ensure that we are able to adjudicate the complaints in an objective and unbiased manner."

Citing Oregon Public Meetings laws, the board's statement said they were unable to provide further details.

Rebecca Hansen-White joined the KLCC News Department in November, 2023. Her journalism career has included stops at Spokane Public Radio, The Spokesman-Review, and The Columbia Basin Herald.