In this era of tight school budgets, it's perhaps not surprising that Pittsburgh teacher George Kirk wasn't able to secure the funds he needed to purchase safety glasses and special jackets for his welding students.
But the former Pittsburgh Public Schools employee alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday that it wasn't a lack of resources, but rather a bias against men by a predominately female-run department that eventually resulted in his furlough last year and the discontinuation of the welding program at the district's Career and Technical Education Department.
In his complaint, Kirk says that while he was denied funds for his students' equipment, a cosmetology teacher in the same department was able to spend money to send a cosmetology student to a "hair show" in Baltimore, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Further, Kirk alleges bias against his gender when he applied to become executive director of the department two years ago. The job instead went to a woman, which the lawsuit characterizes as "a cosmetology teacher with little or no management or supervisory experience."
What's more, Kirk says in the complaint, supervisory positions in the department "have been awarded exclusively to women for almost a decade."
The lawsuit also alleges that the department shortchanged programs that attract mostly male students.
A district spokeswoman told The Associated Press that she couldn't comment on the pending legal matter.
Kirk who worked for the district for a dozen years, was furloughed last year, according to the Post-Gazette.
The welding program, which graduated seven students in the past three years, was eliminated in December as part of a series of closures caused by the district's financial woes.
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