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Teacher Tenure Act

April 18, 2019

Teacher Tenure Act

Case: Stephen P. Geller v. Henry County Board of Education
Facts: A tenured teacher serving as an assistant principal was transferred to teach at an alternative school after the local director of schools learned that the teacher did not hold an administrator’s license. On appeal, the teacher asserts that the transfer was arbitrary and capricious where the director of schools did not comply with the law concerning when assistant principals are required to hold administrator’s licenses. Following a trial, the trial court dismissed the teacher’s complaint, ruling that the director of school’s belief that the teacher was required to hold an administrator’s license was reasonable.

Appellate Decision: The intermediate court reversed, holding that “the director of schools’ actions and beliefs were not reasonable under the circumstances.” The court noted that the teacher’s failure to hold an administrator’s license was the sole reason for his transfer, but that such a license was not necessarily actually required by law. The court thus held the transfer was arbitrary and capricious since the director apparently did not determine whether a license was required under the circumstances.

Review Granted: March 28, 2019.

Prediction: Ben thinks the Supreme Court will likely affirm. While the statute gives broad discretion to school directors, a decision made on purportedly legal grounds must be reasonably based on the applicable law in order not to be arbitrary.