By John Mott Coffey, with News Mississippi affiliate WQNZ
NATCHEZ, Miss. – More fire has been thrown into county supervisors’ ongoing conflict with Natchez-Adams School District leaders after a federal jury said school Superintendent Frederick Hill forced a principal out of her job because she’s white
Hill was “found guilty” Friday by jurors of racial discrimination and should leave office, said Adams County Supervisor David Carter. “Personally, I think it’s time for him to resign,” he said.
After a week-long trial in U.S. District Court in Natchez, the jury agreed to award former West Elementary School principal Cindy Idom more than $370,000 for the lost wages and other damages she said she suffered.
Hill, who’s black, was the central figure in the discrimination lawsuit Idom filed against him, Assistant Superintendent Tanisha Smith and the school district.
Idom was transferred in 2013 from her principal’s post at West Elementary School to Frazier Elementary and then resigned because she faced being demoted. She convinced the jury last week that she was badgered out of her job by Hill as part of a systemic pattern of getting rid of white administrators in the mostly black school system.
The Board of Supervisors since 2014 has been feuding with Hill and the NASD school board. This has been with the prodding of public protests about how the Natchez-Adams schools are run.
Carter and other county supervisors Monday said they want to meet with school officials about the embattled superintendent and the jury verdict. “That’s something we can’t just sit by and let them go on from here,” Carter said.
The county supervisors appoint two of the Natchez-Adams school board’s five members while the other three are picked by the city Board of Aldermen. The supervisors asked school board President Tim Blalock to resign earlier this year, but he refused.
In other matters at the county board’s meeting Monday, supervisors honored two Adams County sheriff’s deputies as heroes for their life-saving efforts for a four-year-old child hit by a car on State Street near the county jail earlier this month. Lance Adams and Walter Mackel rushed the child to the hospital emergency room and gave CPR when the toddler stopped breathing.