Student Aniya Harmon was involved in a physical altercation with another student at Sussex Central High School on May 17 when her breast was exposed on school surveillance video.
According to Harmon's lawsuit, Sussex Central Principal Bradley Layfield and Assistant Principal Matthew Jones worked together to create a meme that depicted Janet Jackson's face during her infamous 2004 Super Bowl incident on a screenshot of Harmon's exposed body from the surveillance video.
“[It’s] a gross violation of Aniya’s privacy,” attorney Emeka Igwe said. “They are put in a position of public trust, and they have abused that trust. They should never be ever again involved in any school setting.”
The two administrators were reportedly suspended following the incident but are still listed as the principal and assistant principal of Sussex Central on the school's website.
Layfield's lawyer said the principal shared surveillance video of the altercation but didn't share or create the meme.
“My client exercised his discretion on May 17th in sharing a surveillance video with professional staff with a need to know of a dangerous school fight… Dr. Layfield petitions the school board, under the First Amendment, for the redress of this grievance imposed on him, a respected long term member of the Sussex County community," Thomas Neuberger, the principal's attorney, said.
“My client had no part in creating or circulating any mime [sic] that day,” he continued. “For now, the lawsuit appears to be misdirected at my client and an exaggeration of alleged injuries, perhaps for financial reasons. I have never heard that any mime [sic] was circulated on social media or anywhere else.”
Harmon said of the incident: “I want to see them not be able to work in any type of school district, around kids, because they should be able to make kids feel safe, and not make them uncomfortable in any type of way. In this situation, it definitely made me feel uncomfortable."