Principal accused of encouraging students to have ‘revenge sex’ instead of fighting

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 8:09 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A deposition reveals a Charleston-area high school principal is being accused of racial and sexual harassment, contributing to the school’s violence problem and encouraging students to engage in revenge sex as an alternative to fighting.

The accusations against Septima P. Clark Academy Principal Carolyn Anderson come via a deposition as part of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint made against Anderson by a different employee. In the deposition, the employee said she was subjected to harassment by Anderson and witnessed numerous occasions of inappropriate conduct that violated the Charleston County School District’s policy on professional conduct.

Anderson was made the interim principal of Clark Academy at the beginning of the school year. She was promoted to principal on April 22 and then subsequently placed on paid administrative leave, days later on April 26. The district would not comment on why she was placed on leave, citing a personnel matter. However, the EEOC investigation, which first goes through the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission was filed months earlier on Feb. 16 while she served as interim principal.

RELATED: Charleston principal placed on leave days after promotion

In the disposition, the employee being questioned claimed Anderson would talk about former male co-workers at North Charleston High School, specifically discussing their bodies and genitals. Anderson, the employee said, would also talk about her own sex life with her husband while in the front office.

“She would just tell us how she was having problems with her husband,” The employee said. “How she walked around the house naked, and he wouldn’t have sex with her.”

The employee testified she was also the target of similarly inappropriate sexual comments. In one such occasion, Anderson told her, in graphic detail, that the employee needed to have sex to “straighten her out,” according to the deposition.

That specific interaction was reported to the head of the Department of Alternative Programs Jennifer Coker in an email dated Nov. 23, according to legal documents. The employee said no action was taken.

In an even more disturbing accusation, Attorney Larry Kobrovsky asked the employee about interactions she observed in which she accused the principal of encouraging high school girls to have revenge sex with each other’s boyfriends instead of engaging in physical fights.

“Let me get this straight. During school hours, you, as the [employee position], heard the principal of Septima P. Clark tell female students that they’re being wrong. That when she was their age, you’d just (have sex with) their boyfriends and get back at the girls that didn’t like her that way?” Kobrovsky asked.

“Yes,” the employee responded. She later said, “It’s embarrassing actually because like I’ve never seen a principal talk like that or show those kinds of actions.”

Beyond sexual comments, the employee also accused the principal of exacerbating discipline problems with students. She says Anderson brought in a number of students without properly vetting them - students that would not have been accepted under the previous administration.

Septima Clark Academy is an alternative school for students with unique academic needs. Families go through an application process that involves an interview with staff.

The employee also says Anderson encouraged an atmosphere of disrespect towards adults by not cracking down on discipline issues and failing to address student referrals.

The employee said students would often use the N-word when referring to teachers and use other profanity specifically aimed at female teachers. The employee claimed Anderson failed to discipline students even when those words would be used in her presence.

“I do find it degrading,” the employee testified. “It makes me feel humiliated, even if it’s a black student saying it to me. Because I feel like administration should just take over those type of things. Like, if you get no punishment, of course students will keep doing it.”

As of June 14, Anderson was still on administrative leave. The Charleston County School District says this is a personnel matter and they have not additional comments.

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