Fired TPS assistant principal appeals her termination

7/23/2013
BLADE STAFF
Sandra Meeks-Speller.
Sandra Meeks-Speller.

A recently fired Toledo Public Schools assistant principal has appealed her termination in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Sandra Meeks-Speller, who most recently was assistant principal at Spring Elementary, filed the appeal today, claiming the district fired her last month without "good and just cause." She asks the court to reinstate her, and award her about $3 million from TPS.

Toledo Public Schools administrators accused her of using inappropriate physical discipline with students, making threats, and using racially tinged language.

Ms. Meeks-Speller claims that the district breached her contract by using false or outdated allegations to fire her, she claims emotional distress, and that the district defamed her character.

"The Board's false statements will forever taint Ms. Speller('s) professional reputation and career. She will incorrectly be viewed as one who abuses students physically and emotionally," the complaint reads.

Much of Ms. Meeks-Speller's complaint against the district references a state-appointed referee’s decision about her fate. When TPS administrators recommended she be fired, Ms. Meeks-Speller requested a hearing before the board, which the board then apparently interpreted as a request for a hearing before a referee.

The referee recommended Ms. Meeks-Speller not be fired, but the board chose last month to terminate her. The president of the local chapter of the NAACP claims Lisa Sobecki, who was president of the board in 2012, reneged on a promise to follow the referee's recommendation.

In its decision to fire Ms. Meeks-Speller, the board was critical of the referee’s report, which it said missed important information and drew false conclusions