The family of a student whose breast was exposed during a fight at Sussex Center High School cheered the firing of its principal and expressed hopes criminal charges will be filed in the case, according to their lawyer.
The student, Aniya Harmon, had sued former principal Bradley Layfield, the assistant principal and the district in the case for invasion of privacy, among other things.
It claimed a meme circulated by Indian River School district officials used a still from a video of that fight, with Janet Jackson’s photo imposed over the student’s face.
Layfield’s lawyer announced Monday that he had been fired by the district. There’s been no official word about what happened to Assistant Principal Matthew Jones, who was also sued.
Harmon’s response indicates he, too, was fired.
“Aniya Harmon and her family are pleased by the school board’s decision to terminate the employment of the individuals responsible for sharing video of her exposed breast at Sussex Central High School,” said Harmon’s lawyer, Emeka Igwe of Philadelphia, in a statement Tuesday.
Harmon, 18, has since graduated from the school.
“Ms. Harmon and her family would like to see criminal charges for those responsible as a way to deter this from happening to another student at Sussex Central High School, any school in Delaware or around the country,” Igwe stated.
Her suit accused the district, Layfield and Jones of invasion of privacy, conspiracy to invade privacy, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and said Layfield and Jones were officials who should have known better.
The fight involving Harmon and another student was in early 2023. During the fight, a school official was trying to hold Harmon back when her clothes shifted and the breast popped out momentarily.
Layfield and Jones showed the video of the fight to several teachers and school officials, which Layfield’s lawyer says is standard practice as part of safety procedures at the school.
Thomas Neuberger said that in order for the breast to be seen the video must be slowed down to a frame-by-frame look.
The lawsuit against Layfield and others is ongoing in the Superior Court of New Castle County.
Here’s a timeline of events:
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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