A Weld County school district superintendent who sought to fire a high school principal after complaints about his alleged racist and homophobic behavior was herself fired when the school board rallied in the principal’s defense, she claims in a federal lawsuit.
Leslie Arnold headed Weld RE-5J School District, which serves about 3,800 students around Johnstown and Milliken, for nearly three years before she was fired last year in what she says was retaliation for her attempts to fire Roosevelt High School’s then-principal Brian Littlefield.
The principal was the subject of a third-party investigation in 2021 after several parents and staff complained about his behavior.
Littlefield was criticized for refusing to discipline a basketball coach who used a racial slur to describe how his players were dribbling, and for initially dismissing concerns about a student who used a fake name that sounded like a racial slur during a virtual school pep rally, saying, “Kids will be kids,” according to the lawsuit, filed May 2 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
The basketball coach was fired by the school’s athletic director, even though Littlefield said he did not think the racist comment was a “big deal,” the complaint says. In another incident, Littlefield ordered a teacher to take down a Black Lives Matter sign but advocated for allowing another teacher to keep up a Blue Lives Matter flag, although he was overruled by fellow administrators and both signs were removed.