A Prince George’s County high school principal who was accused of bullying employees and of discriminating against a white, male teacher is no longer employed by the county school system.
Angelique Simpson-Marcus, who led Largo High School, was at the center of several discrimination lawsuits filed against the county — claims that alleged the principal mistreated teachers and secretaries at the school. A jury awarded one teacher $350,000 last summer, and the county school system settled a second case later in the year.
Simpson-Marcus’s last day at Largo was Jan. 9, said Lynn McCawley, a spokeswoman for the school system. Mark Bickerstaff, an assistant principal at Largo High, was named acting principal last week.
McCawley said Simpson-Marcus’s departure had nothing to do with the recent cases, but McCawley would not specify whether the principal quit or was removed.
“It is our policy not to comment on personnel matters, but I can let you know that her departure is unrelated to the court cases,” McCawley said in an e-mail. “We will continue to see the court cases through until they are resolved.”
Simpson-Marcus, reached by phone, declined to comment.
Between the jury award and legal expenses, the cases have cost the county schools more than $1 million. The school system spent $716,917.25 defending the cases between July 2012 and December 2014, according to information obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request.
Late last summer, a jury awarded $350,000 to a former English teacher, who accused the school system of discriminating against him because he is white. Jon Everhart said he was forced out of his job by Simpson-Marcus, who is black, because of his race. Months later, the school system settled a second case, filed by a former employee, a black secretary, who sued because she said she was retaliated against for reporting Simpson-Marcus to supervisors.
After the settlements, the school system defended Simpson-Marcus, despite calls for her dismissal from a county council member and the head of the county branch of the NAACP. The school system is continuing to defend against a pending discrimination lawsuit involving allegations against the principal.
Simpson-Marcus remained in charge of the 1,100-student Largo High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., after the two discrimination cases were settled by the school system. She left shortly after returning from winter break.
Everhart said his ill treatment began in 2003, when Simpson-Marcus was working as a physical education teacher. Everhart said Simpson-Marcus told students that “the only reason a white man teaches in P.G. County is that they can’t get a job elsewhere.”
He filed a discrimination claim against Simpson-Marcus with the teachers’ union. He said she then targeted him, telling him if she ever became principal, he would be the first person she would fire.
When Simpson-Marcus returned to the school in 2007 as principal, Everhart said she told his students and their parents that he “was a bad teacher . . . poor white trash . . . and would be fired,” according to his lawsuit. Everhart was fired in 2010.
Prince George’s Council member Mary A. Lehman (D-Laurel) said last year she was appalled that Simpson-Marcus remained on the job, despite the alleged racist behavior.
“This principal has ruined people’s physical and mental health, cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, but she gets to keep her job and PGCPS defends her for turning around Largo’s academic fortunes?” Lehman wrote in a letter to schools chief Kevin M. Maxwell in September. “I’m stunned by the callous disregard for the school personnel this woman tormented and the message this sends to students and taxpayers that reverse racism is okay.”
Bob Ross, president of the county branch of the NAACP, said he is pleased that Simpson-Marcus is no longer employed by the county schools.
“The wheels of justice turn slow,” Ross said. “As long as it’s done, we’re quite satisfied.”