- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - A former school principal’s civil lawsuit challenging her alleged dismissal by the Natchez-Adams County School District has been moved to Sept. 14.

Cindy Idom sued the school district, Superintendent Frederick Hill and Deputy Superintendent Tanisha Smith in 2014.

Court records show Idom was replaced by the district at the beginning of the 20132014 school year after 11 years as a principal at West Elementary School and shortly after she was reassigned to Frazier Elementary School.

Idom alleges she worked as principal at Frazier for a year before being told in 2013 by Hill and Smith that she was being replaced and could stay with the district in a teaching position. Hill and Smith cited the district’s student test scores as the reason Idom was being replaced.

Court records show Idom declined the teaching assignment. Idom said in her lawsuit that the only other option given her by Hill and Smith was to retire, which Idom describes as being “constructively discharged” and a “degrading demotion.”

Idom, who now lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is seeking specified damages.

The Natchez Democrat reports (https://bit.ly/1hNMSv8) the lawsuit was initially set for trial on Aug. 10 but was moved to Aug. 24 at the request of the school district.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette III ordered the trial moved to Sept. 14 after Smith said the Aug. 24 date conflicted with a previously-planned trip out of the country.

In court documents, the school district denies the allegations raised by Idom including Idom’s contention her firing was racially motivated. The school district also argued Idom failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing suit.

In her lawsuit, Idom argued she was bullied for racial reasons and faced standards black principals did not. Idom is white, and Hill and Smith are black.

Idom’s also argues inadequate school facilities in the midst of a districtwide reorganization and the assignment of poor teachers to West Elementary - as well as a “hostile work environment” created by Hill and Smith - contributed to the school’s low performance the standardized testing period.

Idom’s lawsuit also alleges her later transfer to Frazier did not give her an opportunity to improve test scores at West - which had only one year of testing behind it.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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