- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) - A discrimination lawsuit against a Fairfax County elementary school principal is moving forward after a federal judge rejected the school system’s effort to have the case tossed out of court.

The lawsuit filed by multiple school-system employees alleges sexual and racial discrimination by Marie Lemmon, the principal at Bailey’s Elementary, Fairfax County’s largest elementary school.

The plaintiffs say Lemmon retaliated against an assistant principal who became pregnant, and that she told multiple people that she would only hire “pretty, young blondes” because they make better teachers. According to the lawsuit, Lemmon referred to teachers who were unattractive as “the geek squad.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Lemmon dismissed a non-Christian family’s concerns about serving pork in the cafeteria because “we live in the United States.”

In a ruling made public Tuesday, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria tossed out parts of the suit but allowed key allegations to move forward, including complaints of racial and sexual discrimination and allegations that staffers who complained about Lemmon’s behavior faced retaliation. He tossed out allegations of religious discrimination related to Lemmon’s treatment of a former assistant principal who is Jewish. Ellis urged both sides to settle the case without a trial.

Lawyers for Lemmon and the school system said the allegations were merely a laundry list of complaints and did not qualify as true discrimination.

Defense lawyers wrote that the case should be dismissed, arguing that the lawsuit “amounts to only a handful of weak and scattered factual timbers, alleging nearly every kind of discrimination found in the U.S. Code.”

A school system spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

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