Monday, August 01, 2005

Former Talbot teacher sues over dismissal

A former Talbot County schoolteacher is suing Talbot County School Superintendent Robert W. Patrick, the school district and county school board, charging that the district violated the Georgia Fair Dismissal Act when her contract was not renewed for the 2005-06 school year.
Alfreda Mitchell filed suit in Talbot County Superior Court on the grounds the school district illegally failed to renew her contract, denying her of her right to notice of the reasons for not being renewed as well as her right to a hearing, both of which the lawsuit states are required by Georgia law.
Mitchell becomes the third school district employee to sue the district since late June over the way they allege their contract nonrenewals were mishandled. Former Central High School Principal Emma Jean Huff and former counselor Patsy Adams sued the same defendants in Talbot County Superior Court on June 30, charging violation of the Georgia Fair Dismissal Act.
Patrick said he followed the advice of the school board attorney and believes the school board complied with the requirements of law.
Mitchell's lawsuit states that she worked for the school for four years starting in 1999 and acquired tenure as a schoolteacher. She left the district in December 2003 to work for the Houston County School District, but returned to Talbot County as a teacher in 2004.
Mitchell was sent a letter that her contract would not be renewed about April 11, but she was not notified of her due process rights to notice and a hearing as the law requires, according to the lawsuit.
Mitchell stated she requested a hearing to determine if she was entitled to a hearing about her dismissal, but was denied.
She is seeking an injunction to set aside the nonrenewal and reinstatement to her former position; damages for back pay and benefits; general damages to be determined by a jury for mental and emotional distress; and an award to compensate her for all her expenses relating to the court action.
Her lawsuit was filed by Atlanta attorney Borquaye A. Thomas.
A similar lawsuit was filed on behalf of Adams and Huff by Macon attorney Charles E. Cox Jr.
Both Adams and Huff are seeking reinstatement, expenses for the cost of the lawsuit and a jury trial.

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