Ex-principal sues school system for wrongful termination

Perrin seeks jury trial in civil suit after unsuccessful appeal to get his job back

BRATTLEBORO — Fired Brattleboro Union High School Principal Steven Perrin has filed a civil lawsuit against the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union (WSESU), the Windham Southeast School District (WSESD), and its board members.

A March 21 filing names the two entities as well as board members at the time of Perrin's firing and his subsequent hearing to appeal that action.

Those defendants are Anne Beckman, Lana Dever, Michelle Luetjen Green, Emily Murphy Kaur, Tim Maciel, Robin Morgan, Shaun Murphy, Deborah Stanford, and Kelly Young.

At the end of the March 28 WSESD meeting, the board went into an executive session to discuss pending/potential civil litigation but did not mention anything in open session.

At press time Tuesday night, no board members had actually been served in the suit, according to the Windham Superior Court docket, but several contacted privately knew about it.

In the civil complaint filed in Windham Superior Court, Perrin and his lawyer, Theodore Kramer, request a jury trial and cite the reason for the civil suit as wrongful termination.

In February, the WSESD Board of Directors upheld its original decision to fire former Perrin following a two-week hearing.

The board fired Perrin on Nov. 8 in a unanimous vote. He had not been on the job since before spring break of 2022. The day school resumed, April 25, WSESD Chair Kelly Young communicated via memo that Superintendent Mark Speno had placed Perrin on a paid leave of absence.

Perrin continued to collect his $120,000 annual salary until he was fired. Cassie Damkoehler has served as principal since her predecessor's termination.

In October 2022, The Commons broke the story of “Jane Doe” who was a sophomore at BUHS in 2010, when she alleges Perrin started to make unwanted and inappropriate sexual and romantic advances toward her and found other ways to make her life difficult, including trying to prevent her from graduating.

It is also believed the former principal did not report her rape by a fellow student to the authorities, as he was mandated to do as an educator.

Friends and classmates corroborated Jane's story, having witnessed Perrin's treatment of her. After the story was published, others stepped forward via social media to express similar treatment by the former principal.

Perrin exercised his right to appeal his firing, and the WSESD board held the hearing and heard testimony over two weeks from approximately a dozen witnesses, ending Jan. 30.

The hearing, according to statute, was held in executive session. Attorney Sean Toohey of Lynn, Lynn, Blackman & Manitsky, P.C., the district's legal team, moderated the proceedings.

Perrin, who lives in New Hampshire, worked at BUHS since 1995. Prior to becoming principal, he served four years as assistant principal. He taught chemistry and biology at the school prior to becoming an administrator. He also taught high school science for several years in Camden, New York, before moving to the Brattleboro area.

He has retained his administrator's and teacher's licenses from the Vermont Agency of Education. Both expire in 2024.

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