Former Liberty Tech principal sues school system, superintendent

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — A former principal at Liberty Technology Magnet High School is suing the school district, school board and Superintendent Verna Ruffin for an alleged hostile work environment and retaliation that began after remarks the former principal made about Vision 2020 at a community meeting.

June Murry

June Murry

In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, former Liberty Tech principal June Murry seeks damages for alleged hostility and retaliation resulting from comments Murry made during a March 2015 meeting at Jackson State Community College regarding the school system’s Vision 2020 plan.

“Everything changed dramatically. Dr. Ruffin’s attitude changed toward her, completely changed, and she felt all of this hostility and intimidation,” Mike Weinman said.

Weinman is representing Murry in the lawsuits.

A state suit filed in chancery court claims Murry was retaliated against for having a conversation with a school board member, which is an elected office.

The federal lawsuit says Murry was demoted Sept. 5, 2015, from her position as principal to a teaching position at Andrew Jackson Elementary School.

“We believe it wasn’t part of any restructuring as part of Vision 2020, but it was a decision to retaliate as part of an ongoing practice of retaliation that’s going on at that school system,” Weinman said.

She resigned from the teaching position in August 2016 due to the alleged hostile work environment, according to the lawsuit.

In a specially called school board meeting in September 2015, Dr. Ruffin defended the decision to demote Murry. “Number one, there were non-certified teachers that were teaching classes which state and federal laws require the use of certified and highly qualified teachers, and number two, scheduling was improperly prepared and credit recovery was improperly used,” she said.

We reached out to the school district and their attorney for comment. Both declined citing policy to not speak on open litigation.

The suit seeks an injunction against the defendants as well as damages but does not list a monetary amount.

You can read the lawsuit here.

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