An ousted Sussex County school principal who was sued by a former student is trying to get his position back after the lawsuit dismissed in court.
Bradley Layfield, the former principal of Sussex Central High School in the Indian River School District, was among those sued by former student Aniya Harmon, who claimed they circulated a video and a photo of her breast, which was exposed during a 2023 fight.
Layfield, the school district and Assistant Principal Matthew Jones were sued for invasion of privacy, conspiracy to invade privacy, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and the idea that Layfield and Jones were officials who should have known better.
Harmon alleged she was approached and attacked by another student in May, and as a faculty member attempted to pull Harmon away from the scene, her shirt was pulled down, exposing her full right breast.
It was captured by a surveillance camera and, according to the complaint. Layfield subsequently shared the video – without editing or blurring Harmon’s breast – with other faculty members at the school.
Harmon claimed that Layfield and Jones created and circulated a meme using a still shot of Harmon and her exposed breast, superimposed with the face of Janet Jackson over Harmon’s face.
The image is in reference to Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction when her breast was exposed during the 2004 National Football League Super Bowl halftime show.
On Monday, Judge Calvin L. Scott Jr. of the Superior Court of Delaware dismissed the lawsuit, which Layfield and his representation – the Neuberger Firm – have been requesting for months.
Harmon’s representation, the Igwe Firm in Philadelphia, declined to comment immediately on the suit’s dismissal.
Indian River’s school board had voted to fire Layfield in November, but it was unclear the status of Jones. Both are still listed on the school website as employees.
On Feb. 15, Layfield will have a “school board discharge” hearing before retired Superior Court Judge William Carpenter in a venue to be set in Sussex County, according to Thomas S. Neuberger, Layfield’s lawyer.
“I have demanded that the hearing be open to the general public and the media which has been granted so I can continue to rehabilitate his reputation and prove that the claim he should be terminated is politically driven, which I will reveal at that time,” he said.
The judge will issue a report. Then, there will be another hearing before the Indian River school board.
Attempts were unsuccessful to reach Indian River School District for comment.
Timeline of events
May 25, ‘23: Indian River employees placed on admin leave, reason unclear
Aug. 21, ‘23: Indian River admin breaks silence after secretive suspension
Sept. 12, ‘23: Sussex Central student whose breast was exposed during fight files lawsuit
Oct. 11, ‘23: Dismiss suit, says principal accused of sharing breast photo
Nov. 16, ‘23: More mystery in Sussex case involving student breast photo
Nov. 20, ‘23: Layfield fired by Indian River board over student breast case
Nov. 21, ‘23: Sussex student happy principal fired, wants criminal charges
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 and on LinkedIn