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Claim filed against SDUSD for retaliation

Posted: 7:14 AM, Dec 01, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-01 15:14:39Z

A school counselor has filed two complaints in connection with alleged discrimination by a San Diego Unified school board member.

Board member Marne Foster was accused by at least two employees of the School for Creative and Performing Arts of using her position to get a better college recommendation for her son.

Kim Abagat is the head counselor for the school. Abagat said she was suspended for nine days after completing an evaluation for Foster’s son. An evaluation Foster was not happy with.

“The bottom line is [Abagat] told the truth about this young man and she was penalized for that,” said Abagat’s attorney Dan Gilleon.

A different counselor later completed another evaluation for Foster’s son. Gilleon said the evaluation was full of lies.

“It was saying that her kid was top five percent academically,” Gilleon said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Abagat filed a claim against the San Diego Unified School District and a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing for discrimination. Both are precursors to a lawsuit.

In the claim against SDUSD, it said the district and the superintendent suspended Abagat without pay "to punish and retaliate against Abagat for refusing to fraudulently give a false and inaccurate review for Foster's son."

Abagat still works at the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

“It’s very difficult for her to work there, mostly because it was publicized recently by the district that she had done something wrong and she knows she didn’t do anything wrong,” Gilleon said.

The former principal at the school, Mitzi Lizaragga, said she was reassigned because of Foster. Gilleon said the statute of limitation had passed on her accusations against Foster. 

A district spokesperson said they do not comment on pending litigation. Team 10 reached out to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, but have yet to hear back.