Alicia Troutman sued Little Rock School Superintendent Michael Poore and the district today for her suspension Aug. 26 as assistant principal at Mabelvale Middle School.
The lawsuit, filed by Matt Campbell, says Troutman was suspended for three days and has been kept on suspension while she appeals. She contends the real reason for disciplinary action is her report of irregularities in a tutoring program at Mabelvale.
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Troutman nominally was suspended for three days by Poore for failure to report then-principal Rhonda Hall for striking a student last January. Troutman said she didn’t report the incident because she didn’t witness it and what she did know of it did not require reporting under the law. Hall has been fired and also charged with hitting the student in an investigation that began after a blogger unearthed video of the incident.
Troutman believes her suspension was retaliation for reporting what she believed to be irregularities in after-school and summer tutoring programs. She said attendance in the programs was padded with meals served to student athletes and cheerleaders who weren’t in the program and that the workforce also was padded with people unnecessary for a small number enrolled.
The lawsuit lists numerous district employees aware of the altercation between the principal and the student who didn’t notify authorities and who weren’t disciplined. Troutman said she’d reported concerns about tutoring program irregularities to Hall; the district’s head of security, and, on July 26, the district director of secondary education. A week later, she was called to the administrative offices and told she would be placed on administrative leave for failing to report the contact between Hall and a student seven months earlier. On Aug. 26, she was told she would be suspended for three days for that failure. She alleges she was also told then she could get back to work immediately if she didn’t appeal the suspension, but she did, on Sept. 3.
The suit says the district violated the whistleblower act, which prohibits adverse action against a public employee who makes a good faith complaint about waste of public money.