Thomas-Wilson wins suit against Aiken Co. School Board

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

The founder and director of Midland Valley Prep has won a lawsuit against the Aiken County School Board.

The Aiken County School District will pay a portion of a $25,000 settlement to end a lawsuit filed by school director Lilian Thomas-Wilson.

Jennifer Ryberg has taught at Midland Valley Prep since it opened four years ago.

She's been there through the good and bad.

"I believed in her and I wanted to be there beside her and help her through this," Ryberg says.

In August of 2004 at a school board meeting, Lilian Thomas-Wilson was accused by six of her teachers of misusing school funds to pay for cosmetics.

"Sitting at the board meeting that night I was shocked and surprised," Ryberg says.

And so was Lilian Thomas-Wilson.

Four months later an investigation cleared her.

In January of 2005, she filed a lawsuit.

On Tuesday, April 18 she posted the outcome. A settlement of $25,000 was reached between Thomas-Wilson and the people she sued: the school board, her 6 former teachers, and the school superintendent.

"The upheaval for our school, the public, and the community...what we want them to know is we didn't do anything wrong," Thomas-Wilson says.

Thomas-Wilson says she always keeps a paper trail, even the makeup order receipt...which she paid for with her own check, not the school's.

She said the Aiken County School Board refused to listen.

"I filed a lawsuit for defamation of character and conspiracy and intent to cause emotional distress," Thomas-Wilson says.

And as the allegations made headlines, some families quickly withdrew students.

But it's bittersweet for the ones that stayed and toughed it out.

"There are a lot of families who chose not to stick with the school through this because it was a very tough time," says Thomas-Wilson.

Our calls to the Aiken County School Board have not been returned.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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