A former Sussex Central High School student is suing its principal and assistant principal, saying they invaded her privacy and caused emotional distress by repeatedly showing a video of her bare breast, exposed during a fight, and creating a meme of it.
Aniya Harmon, 18, graduated from the school in May.
She is suing the school, Indian River School District, Principal Bradley Layfield and Assistant Principal Matthew Jones for invasion of privacy, conspiracy to invade privacy, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and the idea that Layfield and Jones were officials who should have known better.
Harmon’s suit does not specify a damages amount. It ask for whatever compensation the jury/court will award plus costs and interest, and attorney’s fees and punitive damages, which are awarded to punish wrongdoers.
Harmon was a senior at Sussex Central High School in Georgetown at the time of a May 17 incident in which she was allegedly approached and attacked by another student.
A faculty member at the high school attempted to pull Harmon away from the scene when Harmon’s shirt was pulled down, revealing her full right breast.
The incident was captured by a surveillance camera and, according to the complaint, Layfield subsequently shared the video – without editing or blurring Harmon’s breast – with other faculty members at the school.
The complaint also contends that Sussex Central High School Assistant Principal Matthew Jones worked with Layfield to create a meme using a still shot of Harmon and her exposed breas
According to the complaint, Jones superimposed the face of Janet Jackson over Harmon’s face. Jones then allegedly shared this meme with other faculty members.
The image is in reference to Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction that left her breast exposed during the 2004 National Football League Super Bowl halftime show.
Harmon is represented by Ryan Julison from the Igwe Firm in Philadelphia, and the lawsuit is filed in the Superior Court of New Castle County.
Both Layfield and Jones were placed on administrative leave May 22. An interim principal was named this summer.
Layfield’s Thomas Neuberger, Layfield’s lawyer, issued a statement in August saying Layfield showed the video to several administrators, teachers and police officers as part of a routine review of campus fights.
Neuberger asserted that Layfield’s suspension was politically motivated.
Attempts were unsuccessful Tuesday to reach Neuberger or Jones for comment.
The Indian River School District does not comment on pending litigation.
Little public information has been released by the school district or police about the incident or an announced police investigation into the district’s decision to place multiple staff members on administrative leave May 22.
Harmon and her family are asking that a criminal investigation be opened into this incident.
Efforts to reach the Delaware State Police were immediately unsuccessful Tuesday.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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