A former East High principal who was fired for hitting a student has filed two lawsuits against Akron schools
Former East Community Learning Center Director Veron Finney sued the county school district and federal court after he was Expelled for hitting a student.
On Friday, Feeney filed a $1 million lawsuit in federal court against Akron Public Schools, along with 30 current and former board members, three superintendents, two school resource officers and other administrators.
The federal lawsuit comes less than two months after Feeney filed a lawsuit in Summit County Common Pleas Court alleging wrongful termination.
In the federal case, Finney is seeking damages “in excess of $1 million” and any other relief the court deems appropriate. In the district’s case, he did not ask for a specific dollar amount.
Neither Feeney — who is set to run as a Republican candidate for an at-large seat on the Akron City Council this fall — nor his attorney, Matt Markling, returned requests for comment.
“Akron Public Schools will refrain from commenting so as not to impact pending litigation,” Akron Schools spokesman Mark Williamson said in a statement.
It was me He was acquitted of a criminal charge related to the same incident, but the administrative case against him examined whether he violated school district policies.
In both lawsuits, Finney claims he was discriminated against and punished for speaking out about the district’s role in creating the school-to-prison pipeline and reporting on the behavior of other teachers.
During the 2018-19 school year, the federal lawsuit states, Finney “formally complained” to the administration that the Human Resources Officer “prevented Principal Finney from disciplining approximately twenty (20) teachers for insubordination related to academic issues in accordance with directions provided to Principal Finney.” By another official.
He was He was first placed on paid leave After the September 2019 incident, he was placed on unpaid leave later that fall when the board began the termination process against him.
But the case continued through that process and the appeals system, in part to wait out the conclusion of his criminal case. The board voted this summer, in late July, to fire him.
His attorney said at the time that they would appeal the dismissal through Summit County Circuit Court and file a federal lawsuit as well.
The former principal claims in his Summit County lawsuit, which he filed in late August, that he did not receive a fair trial before being fired.
It is also alleged that when he struck the student, he was using practices taught to him in training provided by the district called Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) training, “which allows for the use of force on students by staff,” according to the suit.
Finney said he believed the student, who was sitting and then standing in front of Finney, was preparing to attack him, and the student had used increasingly aggressive language toward him and had previously swung a backpack at one of the teachers that day.
“The CPI requires a teacher to consider whether a student has a history of assaulting faculty when determining whether that student poses a risk,” the lawsuit states.
In the federal lawsuit, Finney alleges that the defendants took “adverse personal actions” against him based on his “speech on matters of public concern,” violating his First Amendment rights.
Contact education reporter Jennifer Pignolet at email@example.com, at 330-996-3216 or on Twitter @JenPignolet.
This article originally appeared in the Akron Beacon: Former Akron schools superintendent is appealing termination, filing federal lawsuit