- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Two black NatchezAdams School District officials found to have racially targeted a white former principal have asked the federal courts to either toss out the jury verdict against them or grant them a new trial.

Superintendent Frederick Hill and Assistant Superintendent Tanisha Smith are fighting a jury’s September verdict that the defendants created a hostile work environment for her and forced her into retirement, The Natchez Democrat reported (https://bit.ly/21G3ert ).

The final judgment, issued in January, awarded plaintiff Cindy Idom $668,000 in back pay, damages and legal fees, of which $75,000 were assessed against Hill and $25,000 against Smith.

Idom, who is white, submitted her resignation as principal of Frazier Elementary School shortly after she was transferred there against her wishes in 2013, having previously served 11 years as principal at West Elementary School. Idom said she had been told to either take a demotion or resign.

During testimony, Idom and former black administrators testified district officials targeted white principals with higher scrutiny than black principals and badgered white principals.

In the new filing, the school district administrators said Idom had written “retirement” as her reason for resigning and therefore did not believe she had been forced out.

The defendants also said that the jury had not been given proper instructions and that jurors were observed sleeping on “several occasions.”

If the court will not throw out the prior judgment or grant a new trial, the defendants asked that the court consider lowering the amount of damages.


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

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