A white Manassas Park school official who said he was a victim of discrimination by other school officials after he married a black woman has received a $10,000 settlement from the city's school board in exchange for his resignation, the American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday.
Timothy Donley, 30, former assistant principal of Manassas Park High School, said he was asked to display a picture of a white woman on his desk and was urged by a school official to attend the school prom without his wife.
Another official contended an interracial marriage "wouldn't work" in the Virginia suburb, Donley said.
Donley received a written reprimand after he refused to attend the dance without his wife Julia, 20, whom he had married in April, the unemployed Donley said yesterday from his home in Centreville.
"The school board flatly denies any allegation that race was a factor in the resignation," officials said yesterday in a written statement.
The board, which met twice in private session to investigate Donley's charges before the settlement, said it had been "dissatisfied" with Donley's work since the beginning of the 1981-82 school year, and branded Donley's claims "unfounded and unfair."
"The school board did not wish this matter to remain unresolved through the current school year. Accordingly an adjustment was made to Mr. Donley's contract," the statement said. The board added it did not "consider it to be in the best interests of the school division or the teachers and students to debate with Mr. Donley in the press . . . The board will not entertain further discussion at this or any other time."
Details of the settlement were contained in a brief three-paragraph written agreement signed by Donley and school board Chairman Kenneth Dellinger. In the agreement, the board acknowledged that a grievance charging discrimination had been filed by Donley with the board, but admitted no wrongdoing.
Donley's lawyer, Gerald Lee, said in a press conference yesterday morning that he had threatened to file a lawsuit against the board seeking back pay and reinstatement under federal civil rights statutes. But Donley, whose resignation took effect Sept. 1, was due no back pay and did not wish to return to the school, Lee said.
Donley said he rejected an offer by the board to pay him $11,500 and give him a favorable recommendation for future employment elsewhere, on condition that Donley not discuss the case publicly.
Donley said he met his wife while working as an assistant principal in Smithfield in Virginia's Southside. The couple moved to Northern Virginia last year after Donley got the $24,000-a-year job at Manassas Park High School, which has a 450-student enrollment that is about 90 percent white.
Donley said Manassas Park School Superintendent Gary Smith asked to meet with Donley and the school's principal last spring.
Donley said Smith told him he believed an interracial relationship "wouldn't work" in Manassas Park and suggested Donley look for a job elsewhere, possibly at IBM, where Julia Donley is employed. Donley said he refused. Smith declined to comment.
On April 5 the couple was married. Donley said that when he failed to attend the school prom, he received a written reprimand from the school principal, who declined comment yesterday.
Earlier, Donley said, a school official had suggested that he keep a picture of a white woman on his desk at work.
Donley disputed school board claims that it was dissatisfied with his performance. "If it was a personnel problem, why were they willing to pay me $10,000?" he said. "My record speaks for itself."