Former Wilson ISD teachers Patricia Johnson and Michelle Story are taking legal action against Wilson ISD in an effort to get their jobs back and to get the district to lift the ban that prevents them from attending school events.
"We want the Wilson School District to reinstate them to their teaching positions and we want them to drop the ban on these ladies from being on campus and attending school events," said Lubbock attorney Kevin Glasheen, who took the case pro bono. "We're going to ask the school board to reinstate them and drop the ban and if they don't then we're going to ask a court to give us relief."
Story and Johnson were fired from Wilson ISD three weeks ago.
"This is just about outrageous injustice, arbitrary and capricious action by the school board. It's petty, it's retaliatory and it's illegal," Glasheen said. "When they cross the line and start violating the Texas Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and start retaliating against people for exercising their rights then that's when we step in and have to take it to a judge."
Story and Johnson said four other teachers resigned but will finish the school year. Currently Story and Johnson are not allowed to attend any school activities, including sporting events, talent shows and graduations.
"I don't know why I was let go. They won't give us answers. I don't know why I was put on paid leave but for me at this point it's more about me as a parent," Story said. "It's not just me it's affecting. My daughter's heartbroken because her mom has been there for everything. You can't express it in words."
"My oldest is a senior and he is my special needs child, I have fought for him, I have done everything in my power to get him where he is today and to support him and see him graduate and they're going to take that from me - that's not fair," Johnson said. "I want answers. I'm not getting answers that I desperately need. I don't know why, I don't know what I did, but I just want to know."
On Tuesday, Wilson ISD released a statement to clarify the situation, part of which read:
"Prior to March 11th, teachers whose probationary contracts the superintendent was considering to recommend for termination under Texas Education Code 21.103 were given a courtesy meeting to explain the options available to them. At no time did the superintendent or principal ask them to resign."
"Since the terminated teachers' presence at school created such a disruption to the educational environment, it was the superintendent's judgment that the best interest of the district would be served by restricting the teachers' presence on school grounds and at school activities. These restrictions, however, may be waived by the superintendent on a case-by-case basis. The superintendent has already waived the restriction in certain circumstances."
"We feel like both of these ladies were fired for speaking up and raising concerns about the school principal. That violates their first amendment rights. We also believe that they were banned from campus in retaliation for refusing to resign," Glasheen said. "Our claims are not about trying to change the school district or remove administration - our claims are simply about these two teachers, trying to get them back into their jobs and back into their campus so they can attend school functions with their kids."
Glasheen has requested to present their case to the school board with hopes of reinstating the former teachers. He is still waiting to hear back from them. If that fails, he will file a suit in Lynn County district court asking for a temporary injunction preventing the school district from banning these teachers from school functions.
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