Former James Island Charter HS finance director will appeal decision in defamation lawsuit

Former James Island Charter HS finance director will appeal decision in defamation lawsuit
Some parents kept their children out of James Island Charter High School Friday amid safety concerns.

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - After a federal court judge ruled in favor of the city of Charleston and James Island Charter High School in a defamation lawsuit involving the school’s former finance director, court documents show she will appeal her decision.

Lawyers for Kristina McMichael formally filed an appeal of Charleston federal court judge Richard Gergel on Thursday.

According to the lawsuit, McMichael was James Island Charter High’s accountant and finance director for 10 years. The suit claimed the school principal fired McMichael in July 2017 because she didn’t balance the school’s budget.

McMichael claimed she previously told principal Tim Thorn that coaches driving as bus drivers to sporting events needed to be paid separately from the salary.

According to the suit, Thorn didn’t like that and put a target on McMichael’s back.

The former finance director also claimed after she was fired, school resource officer Ryan Brown posted her driver’s license photo and photos of her husband and son outside the school that said, “Do not let these people into the school.”

In the suit, McMichael stated she has suffered mental anguish and embarrassment and invasion of privacy.

Gergel ruled in late July that the school didn’t intrude on McMichael’s private life and didn’t defame her by posting the photos outside the school. He also stated that the school didn’t violate the “Driver’s Privacy Protection Act” because Brown used her DMV photo for a “legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

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