Horton alleges discrimination

By Greg Gelpi

East Clayton Elementary School Principal Bill Horton accused Clayton County Superintendent Barbara Pulliam of "discriminatory treatment."

Horton filed a formal complaint with the Clayton County Public Schools system Wednesday detailing the alleged mistreatment.

Horton served as interim deputy superintendent for 13 months until last week, but was never compensated for his position, Horton alleged in his grievance. Instead, he continued to be paid as a principal.

He tried to resolve the matter several times during his stint as interim deputy superintendent, but the school system never paid him for the job he worked, paying him for his previous position.

Horton addressed the pay with Pulliam last week, but she refused to compensate him, John Trotter, who is representing Horton, said.

Pulliam couldn't be reached for comment. Pulliam flew to San Francisco Wednesday for the national conference of the American Association of School Administrators of which she is a national officer.

Jerry Jackson, the acting coordinator of public affairs/community relations, said he could not reach Pulliam, but that the grievance is a personnel matter.

"That's our side of the story," Jackson said. "This is a personnel matter."

Horton filed the grievance at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday after Pulliam had left for the conference.

"Ms. Pulliam treats me differently than other employees similarly situated," Horton stated in his complaint. "She refused to pay me the salary to which I am duly entitled. Ms. Pulliam's discriminatory treatment of me and her refusal to pay me the salary to which I am duly entitled, negatively impacts our professional relationship. I am requesting that Ms. Pulliam immediately cease her discriminatory treatment of me, that she pay me the salary to which I am entitled, and that she not retaliate against me in any manner or form (including evaluations) for filing this grievance."

The complaint references the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees "equal protection under the law."

Since the grievance alleges wrongdoing of Pulliam, the complaint will be brought to the Clayton County Board of Education to be resolved in a formal hearing. The decision of the board can be appealed to the state Department of Education, Trotter said.

Pulliam must respond to the complaint within 10 days, he said.

Horton wouldn't comment on the grievance, but Trotter said the complaint involves "several thousand dollars" of pay Horton alleges he should have been paid.

"It's going to be good and juicy," Trotter said.

Pulliam has been the Clayton County superintendent for less than two weeks. She began Feb. 9.

During her first week, she moved Horton from his position as interim deputy superintendent to his current position as principal of East Clayton Elementary School.