PRESS STATEMENT Contact:
For Immediate Release Anne Marie Moy
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 314-686-8958
Last Friday, Normandy parents celebrated an important legal victory when St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Michael Burton granted a preliminary injunction that allows the five Normandy students listed as plaintiffs in Massey v. Normandy Schools Collaborative to continue to attend accredited schools while the lawsuit filed on their behalf proceeds in the courts. Upon hearing the news, many receiving school districts such as Pattonville and Ritenour changed their decisions and are now allowing last year’s transfer students to return.
In an e-mail to parents, Pattonville Superintendent Mike Fulton recognized that, “while this case specifically applies to the litigants involved in the suit, the same rights apply to all Normandy students who attended Pattonville last year.”
To date, Francis Howell and Ferguson-Florissant School Districts have not extended transfer rights to students beyond the plaintiffs and are still refusing other Normandy transfers. This, despite Judge Burton’s opinion in which he found that the Missouri State Board of Education had neither the authority nor did they follow proper rule making procedures when they granted the newly formed Normandy Schools Collaborative a “new accreditation status” of state oversight district.
Based upon Judge Burton’s ruling, Normandy remains unaccredited, which means Francis Howell and Ferguson-Florissant are in violation of Section 167.131 of the Outstanding Schools Act, which gives parents of children living in school districts without accredited schools the right to transfer their child to an accredited district in the same or an adjoining county.
Yesterday, attorney Joshua Schindler filed Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) against Francis Howell and Ferguson-Florissant School Districts in the courtroom of Judge Michael Burton, who granted all 14 TROs that will allow transfer students to attend Francis Howell and Ferguson-Florissant immediately. The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri is helping interested families complete their TRO paperwork. Families may contact CEAM at 314-454-6544.
According to Schindler, “These are reprehensible tactics with the apparent intent of wearing down parents and families into submission. The school districts have time on their side; the children do not. They deserve access to an accredited school today.”
CEAM is calling on Governor Jay Nixon, Attorney General Chris Koster and members of the Missouri State Board of Education to fulfill the obligations of their respective offices by ensuring that Francis Howell and Ferguson-Florissant are in compliance with state law. We are in full agreement with Judge Burton’s opinion that “Every child in this community has a right to a decent education,” and that, “leaving children in unaccredited school districts with no option to transfer from those districts, is harmful to those children…Every day a student attends an unaccredited school (instead of an accredited one) he/she could suffer harm that cannot be repaired after the fact.”
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