SHERMAN OAKS ( — The controversy over a black principal at a charter elementary school in Sherman Oaks has now gone to the LAUSD school board.

The board voted 6-1 to demote the principal to assistant principal.

Principal Kesia Doucette says this all started with a parent meeting that didn’t go well in October. It has now spiraled into accusations of racial discrimination that have some parents divided.

For the first time, we are hearing from the principal at the center of allegations of racial discrimination at Riverside Drive Charter Elementary.

“I am aware that I’m the only female African-American principal within a 10 mile radius of the other schools. And there have been things that have been said,” Doucette said.

Doucette says a small group of parents have attacked the way she dresses and made derogatory comments about the color of her skin.

“I was told that I should be embarrassed to be a black woman,” Doucette said.

Things have gotten so bad she says, she has taken a leave of absence from the school. She’s set to return Monday if the school board approves it. On Tuesday, parents who support Doucette addressed the board.

“Since she has been the principal at that school, I’ve been nothing but grateful to have her in my children’s lives,” a parent said.

There were no parents at the meeting speaking out against Doucette’s return. Earlier this month, Doucette’s critics also refused to comment, saying they feared for their safety.

Deon Bush is a parent to two students. He says a small group of white, affluent parents are dividing the school. He brought a stack of letters from fellow parents who he says admire and respect Doucette.

“More importantly, forget us as parents, but the children love her,” Bush said. “If there are 650 students at this school, she has 650 students who love her. You can take that to the bank.”

The NAACP is now involved, and wants the two sides to sit down for mediation.

“There appeared to be problems with a small group, a particular parent group, who seem to be making a lot of noise that is drowning out the larger group who are actually in cohesion,” Rosalind Scarbrough, of the NAACP, said.

Doucette says she misses her students and is ready to get back to work on Monday.


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