Fired Amory principal sues to get job back

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

AMORY – The former principal of West Amory Elementary School filed suit Thursday to challenge her job loss.

Leigh Todd of Aberdeen was fired after the controversial discipline of an 8-year-old who was forced to stick out his tongue for nearly six hours one day last March.

In a 19-page federal lawsuit, Todd insists she was denied due process and was discharged without cause.

Defendants in the legal action are the Amory School District, its superintendent Dr. Gearl Loden and Dr. Candace Moore, its special education director.

Todd is represented by Tupelo attorney Jim Waide.

She also insists that competition with Moore over an open curriculum director’s job contributed to her problems with the district.

Loden and Moore could not be contacted for comment early today.

In the lawsuit, Todd claims the child’s mother approved of his discipline, which Todd termed “an appropriate means of correcting his misbehavior.”

Last week, the child’s parents accepted a $75,000 settlement from the school district to avert a lawsuit.

Todd claims the child’s parents did not complain about the matter until Loden visited them “in an attempt to inflame them against Todd.”

She also insists Loden was in league with Moore to secure for her the curriculum director’s job and wanted Todd out of the way.

And she blames Loden for allegedly advising school board members they should not attend her three-day hearing before the board fired her.

Todd says the district breached her contract and that Loden defamed her to the student’s parents.

She’s asking for a jury trial, actual and punitive damages, as well as reinstatement to her employment.

On Monday, the Amory School Board hired someone else for the curriculum job.