Former Fulton principal files lawsuit against district, superintendent

A former State Bridge Crossing Elementary School principal filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging the Fulton County School District and a high-ranking administrator falsely accused her of misconduct after she reported racist comments.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, says Zone 6 superintendent Timothy Corrigan gave false information to investigators looking into claims that Bridgette Marques, the plaintiff, was violating work attendance policies during the summer of 2021.

Marques denies the claim that she violated attendance policies, and the complaint says Corrigan gave the false information just after Marques had reported him to the district for making what she says were insensitive comments about Asians and LGBTQ people during leadership-level meetings in the spring of 2021. She filed a discrimination and retaliation claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June, according to the lawsuit complaint.

The Fulton County Schools system declined to comment. Corrigan said he was unaware of the lawsuit and had no comment.

The events the attendance investigation examined began on Aug. 5, 2021, when a person infected with COVID-19 entered the school building and Marques quarantined while the school implemented contact tracing protocols. She had just returned from a monthlong medical leave to work during the school’s orientation. The complaint says Marques “promptly notified Corrigan.” The following day, the complaint says Marques was texting Corrigan when she was notified she had not been exposed to the infected individual.

Four days later, Corrigan told Marques that Fulton County Schools’ central office received a tip saying she’d been late to work on Aug. 6, and had left before the end of the day. The tip also alleged Marques was habitually late arriving to work and departing early, according to the complaint. Fulton County Schools launched an investigation into the claim and, according to the complaint, Corrigan misrepresented her arrival times following her quarantine despite texting her during the period.

The complaint also alleges that Corrigan told investigators Marques failed to work eight hours for several days following her return from medical leave. Artur Davis, Marques’ attorney, said Fulton County principals aren’t expected to be on school grounds for eight hours a day during the summer, and numerous other principals did not work eight hours during this time.

Marques had previously reported issues with Corrigan, according to the complaint. In 2019, Corrigan had suggested that State Bridge Crossing Elementary, where fewer than 10% of students are Black, was not the “best fit” for Marques, who is African American.

Corrigan is now head of high school at King’s Ridge Christian School in Alpharetta.

In September 2021, Marques was told that the tip had been substantiated and that the district had decided to terminate her as an employee. Marques said in her lawsuit complaint she sought information about the findings, but was told she could contest them at an administrative hearing. Marques did not contest the findings and resigned in December 2021.

Marques, who worked in the district more than a decade before resigning at the end of 2021, is seeking back pay, lost benefits, accrued sick leave and accumulated retirement contributions.