Sexual harassment suit v. Loy Norrix principal

Rodney Prewitt
A 2013 photo of Rodney Prewitt. (Courtesy Loy Norrix Knight Life student newspaper)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The principal at a Kalamazoo public high school is at the center of a federal sexual harassment lawsuit.

A former counselor filed the suit against Rodney Prewitt, the principal of Loy Norrix High School, in December 2016, claiming Prewitt sexually harassed her and other women at the school.

The counselor also claimed that Prewitt retaliated when she ignored his advances, criticizing her in public and causing her not to be hired for a different position within the district.

The suit claims a violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the counselor’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Prewitt has been accused of the same thing at other schools. He lost his teaching certificate in Florida in 2001 after sexual harassment allegations surfaced there. The December suit says the Florida Educational Practices Commission disciplined Prewitt for engaging “in a pattern of sexual harassment of female teachers and staff at his school.” It said he would ask female co-workers for sex and make other inappropriate sexual comments. After his teaching certificate was revoked, the Florida Department of Education ordered Prewitt to take sexual harassment classes.

The December suit also claims Kalamazoo Public Schools was aware of his history when he was hired there in 2013.

The former counselor is also suing KPS and asking for lost wages and benefits, an unspecified amount in damages and costs and attorney fees.

Friday, the district’s lawyer released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

“Mr. Prewitt has been working in the State of Michigan as a school administrator since 2006, first at Beecher Community School District until 2013 and at Kalamazoo Public Schools since. He holds an active administrator certification issued by the Michigan Department of Education. We believe the case has no merit and will not comment further on pending litigation.”

The case is in mediation.