Watch Your Back – Update


UPDATE – 03/15/2016: The Judge has ruled on this case and it could be a very important ruling. 

Judge orders EBOE to ‘mediate’ with teacher


ORIGINAL POST – 02/23/2015

Last November I published Watch Your Back which is still by far the most widely read post to date on this little blog of mine.

As a result of the actions taken at the 10/21/14 school board meeting (the subject of Watch Your Back) the teacher suspended, Sonya Dean, subsequently filed a lawsuit against the school board claiming, among other things, she was wrongfully suspended and denied due process under the law.

As I understand it this case is one of the first, if not the first, to challenge a new law passed in Alabama in 2011 called the Students First Act.

“Approved by the Legislature in May, the new process — the Students First Act — replaces arbitration used under the Fair Dismissal Act of 2004.” Quote from the article link below.

As in most situations there are at least two sides to every story. According to some, this act changed tenure law and greatly limits the rights of teachers. According to proponents the law will help school boards better manage their staff.

You can learn more about this act at the article link below and the SB310 link to the actual bill as passed by the legislature.

Students First Act replaces arbitration process for firing, disciplining teachers

SB310 – The Act as passed by the legislature

This could be one of those landmark decisions as if this case is dismissed it will discourage and possibly even preclude others from being brought in the future.

Hearing was held

I was able to attend the hearing on the school board and superintendent’s request to have the case dismissed Thursday, 02/26/15, at the Enterprise Court House. It was both informative and instructive for me. As most cases go each side presented their position in the best light possible. I don’t know how the ruling will come down in 14 days.

However, I was reminded that often what seems right is not the outcome under the existing laws. Sometimes the law is just not written in a way that is favorable for your side of the case. There are always two sides though and the other side will likely have an opposite interpretation. The judge has to rule on the existing law, not what is the right thing to do if those two conflict. This can be an impetus for changes to such laws. Laws have to be tested in practice. This is one of those tests.

I do know it took courage for Sonya Dean to stand up for her rights and bring the case and that is to be commended. I also believe that many are more aware of the Students First Act is as a result of this case.

From my perspective, regardless of the outcome of the case, this was a worthwhile effort and lessons learned in this case will be beneficial for others if faced with a similar situation in the future.

What do you think?

Until next time…

Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 2/23/2015