72ºF

Furr HS Principal Bertie Simmons speaks out after being relieved of duties

HOUSTON – A long-time Houston Independent School District principal who was removed from campus last week is speaking out Monday after filing a complaint.

Dr. Bertie Simmons is accused of verbally threatening students.

Simmons has been at Furr High School in east Houston for the past 17 years and is credited with making major improvements.

Simmons' lawyer said the principal was removed because HISD said she "failed to adhere to the district's decision to relax student dress code for the first semester and ... verbally threatened students with a baseball bat."

Her lawyer called the allegations false.

WATCH: Dr. Bertie Simmons speaks out after being relieved of duties at Furr HS

Simmons has filed a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. Her attorney said she was subjected to race and age discrimination.

The complaint alleges HISD administrators sought "to remove Dr. Simmons as Principal of Furr High School because of her age and/or race."

It goes on to accuse the district of "wresting" a grant and "utilizing the grant monies for purposes for which they are not intended."

"The thing that saddens me is to see us make decisions that are not in the best for our students," Simmons said Monday.

Two other employees were also removed from campus, according to her lawyer.

HISD released the following statement on the issue:

“HISD has an obligation to investigate when there have been allegations of misconduct. Dr. Bertie Simmons has been temporarily reassigned while HISD investigates the allegations. HISD will respond to the EEOC and the Department of Justice complaints filed on behalf of Dr. Simmons, and denies any allegations of a pattern and practice of discriminatory treatment against employees.”

Download the Click2Houston news app in your app store to stay up-to-date with the latest news while you're on the go.

Sign up for KPRC 2 newsletters to get breaking news, sports, entertainment, contests and more delivered straight to your email inbox.