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Former charter school principal leads federal lawsuit against Manatee County School District

Posted at 3:54 PM, Feb 17, 2020

PALMETTO, Fla. -- The group behind a federal lawsuit against the Manatee County School District says its charter school was sabotaged.

The former principal says the emergency takeover of Lincoln Memorial Academy was racially motivated.

“I need the district help accountable," said Eddie Hundley.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Former Manatee County charter school principal and financial officer under federal investigation

Hundley founded the Lincoln Memorial Academy.

But now, he’s part of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Manatee County School District and the the City of Palmetto.

“I think the comfort level of executing some of the things that were done here were because of our race and because they assume that people such as these would not stand up for their community," said Hundley.

The complaint says the lawsuit is on behalf of all of the school’s former employees and affected families.

It alleges racial discrimination and sabotage, claiming the school district withheld school funds and worked with the city to doctor a late notice from the water company.

“Now, the school has fallen into disarray. We have huge behavioral problems now where a kid has since brought a gun to school," said community activist Rodney Jones.

The district voted to revoke Lincoln’s charter and take the school over last summer after claims of financial mismanagement.

That water shut-off notice was used as evidence in a hearing where the State ruled the district was justified to take over the school because it was unfit for students.

But supporters of the charter say things are worse now.

“Those kids are wounded, they’ve been battered because of what has taken place. For us, it’s grieving to watch them go through that. We know that it’s impossible to have a good education surrounding all the circumstances that are going on at LMA," said Rev. Arthur Huggins.

The attorney representing the former employees says they want Lincoln reinstated as a charter school and those who lost their jobs put back in place.

Because government offices were closed for President's Day, we could not get in touch with the school district or city leaders.