Lawsuit against former Alcorn Central principal settled

news_court_greenBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – The lawsuit filed by two Alcorn County teachers against former Alcorn Central Middle School principal Dan Burcham has been dismissed in U.S. District Court after a settlement was reached.

Court records show Janet Walls Holley and Stephanie Leigh Eaton’s lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock on April 4, after a settlement conference March 27.

“Both parties agree they will not initiate contact with any news media,” said Tupelo attorney Jim Waide, who represents the two women, when contacted by the Daily Journal. “If contacted by the media we are to respond that the case is settled and there is a confidentiality agreement.”

Holley and Eaton initially filed a federal lawsuit in August 2013, claiming that Burcham had taken inappropriate pictures and videos of them using his cellphone, causing them to suffer severe psychological illness for which they have had ongoing medical treatment and have needed to take prescribed medications as a direct result of Burcham’s actions.

Burcham was fired from his position as principal of Alcorn Central Middle School in March 2013, after complaints surfaced, an investigation was held, and a closed hearing on the issues was conducted by the county school board.

The Mississippi Department of Education’s Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development also voted unanimously to revoke Burcham’s license in September 2013.

Holley and Eaton said Burcham had taken close-up pictures of women’s breasts and rear ends without permission, and that he carried out this conduct with other women as well, while being observed by several employees of the school. They further said that Burcham’s “sexually perverse behavior” was established at the due process hearing held by the school district.

Burcham filed a response to the lawsuit in October 2013, through his attorney, C. Maison Heidelberg of Ridgeland, denying all of the allegations.

Holley and Eaton sought a jury trial for actual and punitive damages for invasion of privacy and intentional and negligent infliction of mental distress.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com