Ousted African-American Teacher Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Elmwood Franklin School 

        Shellonnee B. Chinn

        Shellonnee B. Chinn

Veteran teacher, Shellonnee B. Chinn, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York against Buffalo’s Elmwood Franklin School charging the school with wrongful termination, race, sex and age discrimination. After working at Elmwood Franklin for nearly 15 years, and being the only African-American classroom teacher ever hired by the 127 year-old elite private school, Ms. Chinn was ousted from the school in 2015. Elmwood Franklin School enrolls just over 300 students in prekindergarten through eighth grades.  

Her ouster was, in part, retaliation because she disclosed that the academic outcomes of students paying nearly $20,000 per year at Elmwood Franklin were worse than some of Buffalo’s free public schools.

The case is being heard before U.S. District Court Judge Frank Paul Geraci, Jr.

Joan Simmons, head of the Niagara Frontier Movement for the Advocacy of African-American Human Rights, and Ken Nixon,   of the locally based Center For Strategic Studies on Race,Law and Public Policy, Inc.said their research has shown that while local, secular private schools may hire African-American teachers in non-classroom positions, none of seven such schools west of Rochester has an African-American teacher in a core, classroom position.