Arizona Principal Says She Was Fired for Being a Lesbian

By: Christopher Donaldson
3.21.2012

The recent firing of a popular lesbian high-school principal in Paradise Valley, Arizona—an affluent town 14 miles Northeast of Phoenix—is being heralded as a modern day witch hunt, one that also points to a much larger and more highly charged national debate surrounding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which if passed would make employment discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender identity illegal in every state.

It all went down last Thursday night after Paradise Valley Unified School District board members informed Cynthia Davis, principal at Paradise Valley High School, that they would not renew her contract since school administrators had so-called issues with her “leadership ability and style,” according to the Arizona Republic.

One mother of a former student, however, claims that board members decided to fire Davis on the assumption of her perceived “lifestyle” choices. The Arizona Republic reports:

“On Friday, community member Shelly Hickerson came forward with a letter she had written to the district administration, including Superintendent James Lee, on March 11 praising Davis’ work as principal. In the letter, Hickerson says that a governing-board member had “aggressively” questioned Hickerson on whether she approved of the selection of Davis as principal in 2008 and “… told me she was concerned about her (Davis’) lifestyle.”

Even though governing-board officials refused to go into much detail about their decision, board president Sue Skidmore told the Arizona Republic that the district—quote—“is in a five-year strategic plan that requires that Paradise Valley High School move "'in a different direction.'"

In any case, between the various possible correlations between her private and professional life, Davis believes that she was let go simply for being a lesbian.

“I have lived alone since 2005 but I have been in gay relationships prior to that. I have always separated my private and professional lives,” Davis told the Arizona Republic on Friday. “The only thing that led to my belief that this may be a factor is the information revealed by a community member today.

“I never wanted to believe that this could be the issue but I guess I was wrong. I don’t like this. People should be judged on who they are as a person, not their orientation. This has nothing to do with the job I have done as a principal.”

Watch 12News' report below (via Towleroad). Read more on Cynthia Davis and the Paradise Valley Unified School District here.

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