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Judge grants 14 TRO’s in Normandy transfer case

Saint Louis, Mo. — The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri is moving forward with its threats to sue the State and several local school districts for refusing to allow students in the Normandy School Collaborative to transfer to an accredited school district.

Last week, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Burton ruled in favor of a handful of families suing to get their children admitted to schools outside of Normandy. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Joshua Schindler, says the State Board of Education did not have the authority to revoke Normandy’s accreditation status earlier this summer — a move that eliminated the legal obligation for schools to accept transfer students from “unaccredited” districts — and that state law clearly gave Normandy students a right to transfer to an accredited district.

Burton agreed and, in his ruling, chided the State Board for having “no authority to create the classification it did” for Normandy. Ritenour and Pattonville School Districts have already agreed to accept all Normandy transfer students — instead of only those few children identified in the lawsuit — while Francis Howell has announced that it will only allow in the individual Normandy children named in the lawsuit.

While those supporting the Normandy parents believe the ruling should clearly apply to every Normandy student, Schindler told The Missouri Times earlier this week that they were prepared to sue the state a few families at a time until every student was approved to transfer if necessary.

“These are reprehensible tactics with the apparent intent of wearing down parents and families into submission,” Schindler said yesterday in a statement. “The school districts have time on their side; the children do not. They deserve access to an accredited school today.”

On Wednesday, Schindler filed 14 Temporary Restraining Orders against the Francis Howell and Ferguson-Florissant school districts on behalf of several families. Ferguson-Florissant has not publicly stated how they will interpret Burton’s ruling from last week, in light of the unfolding events there.

Burton granted all 14 TRO’s, effectively admitting Normandy children into their transfer schools. CEAM is currently working to contact as many Normandy families as possible to file more TRO’s on behalf of students wishing to transfer out of Normandy.