Fairfield principal accused in Emilie Olsen lawsuit resigns

Fairfield Middle School Principal Lincoln Butts has submitted his resignation, according to a letter he sent last week to the district’s superintendent.

Butts, a principal at the school for about two years, was recently named in a lawsuit filed by the parents of Emilie Olsen. Emilie was a 13-year-old student at the middle school who shot and killed herself in 2014.

School officials declined to comment about the resignation, stating his resignation letter was for “personal reasons.” School officials are referring media to Thursday’s school board agenda, which lists Butts’ resignation as one of the first agenda items. Thursday’s meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at the high school on Holden Boulevard.

Butts’ resignation letter, which is dated May 13 and addressed to Fairfield Superintendent Paul Otten, is only three sentences: “I am writing to formally notify you that I am resigning from Fairfield City Schools (sic) District for personal reasons. My last day of employment will be Thursday, June 30, 2016. I wish you and the district success in the future.”

The Journal-News has reached out to Butts for comment but he has not responded.

The latest legal action alleges school officials ignored complaints from Emilie — and other students — about bullying and were unresponsive in fulfilling their responsibilities to end such abuse.

In the recent court filing, Cindy and Marc Olsen claimed school officials attempted to intimidate them when Butts showed up at their home accompanied by police officers. The Olsens described the incident as an attempt to keep them from talking publicly about their accusations against the school system.

In April, Fairfield school officials filed a rebuttal to the lawsuit.

In a separate filing, school officials asked the judge in a U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to rule on 10 counts made in the Olsen’s lawsuit without allowing them to introduce evidence.

On April 26, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Barrett released a calendar for the case, which indicates discovery of facts must be complete by March 1, 2017, and expert discovery must be complete by June 30, 2017. A jury trial is tentatively set in February 2018.

Local legal experts have said such lawsuits by families are rare and face hurdles in winning.

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