The Baltimore Sun on Aug. 2 reported Cheryl Brower, a human rights investigator, “found reasonable cause to believe some school board members discriminated against” former Director of Staff Relations Tim Thornburg, former Chief Accountability Officer Grace Chesney and former Director of Communications John White. The Baltimore Sun noted Brower reported two school board members made homophobic comments against Chesney and Thornburg.
Foose resigned in May 2017. The Baltimore Sun reported Chesney and White were laid off the following month, while Thornburg resigned.
The Howard County Board of Education in an Aug. 3 statement said the allegations “are part of an employment discrimination claim that has no factual or legal basis.” The statement also notes Thornburg, Chesney and White have all withdrawn their complaints.
“The complainants’ withdrawal denied the board, and individual board members, the opportunity to vindicate itself,” it reads. “Instead, these reports were leaked to the news media.”
“We want the HCPSS (Howard County Public School System) community to know that the complainants’ allegations are false, and that the board categorically disclaims the investigator’s version of events,” adds the statement. “The reports rely on hearsay and the uncorroborated allegations of a few over the testimony of board members and HCPSS staff. We believe that the fact that these complaints have been withdrawn by the former employees is acknowledgement that even they know that their complaints would not stand up to scrutiny. The board is outraged that these false allegations have caused unrest in our community.”