GAE and Ms. Barnes challenged the school district’s “waiver” of Georgia’s Fair Dismissal Act as a violation of her constitutional rights. The lawsuit challenged Georgia’s charter school system law that allows districts to waive important education laws such as class size, certification requirements, and due process rights for teachers. Ms. Barnes alleged that her constitutional rights and due process rights earned under the state’s Fair Dismissal Act could not be stripped away after the district’s change in governance.
In her order, Judge Belinda Edwards declared that “the waiver provision of the Charter System Act, is unconstitutional as applied to FCSS educators who have earned FDA rights” before the school district converted to a charter school system. Accordingly, Judge Edwards ordered the school district to reinstate Ms. Barnes’ employment and permanently enjoined the school from “enforcing the FDA waiver provision of Charter System Act … against Plaintiff Barnes” and all other educators who earned due process protections before the school system changed its governance.
Ms. Barnes, who has been working in higher education since filing this lawsuit, stated, “I am thrilled with the decision. Protecting Georgia’s educators against arbitrary dismissal should be a state priority, particularly given the many challenges teachers face in these difficult times.” “This case is important because it reclaims teacher protections lost over the past decade. We are committed to improving public education,” said Mike McGonigle, GAE General Counsel/Legal Services Director.
A copy of the Court’s Order is attached.