|One foot in front of the other . . .|
By Elizabeth Kruska
This opinion can be boiled down pretty simply: if there is a statute that tells you what steps to follow in your particular situation, follow those steps. You don’t get to make up your own steps if you’d like the law to protect you.
Mr. Clayton was a teacher in the Northfield school system. He had a contract and was a member of the Washington South Education Association. Because he had an employment contract, he was subject to the rules set forth in this statute, which sets forth the steps that are to be taken if a teacher with a contract is subject to suspension or termination. Because he was a member of the Association, which had a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), he was also subject to those rules.
There were some allegations that Mr. Clayton did and said some unbecoming things during his course of being a teacher. The school wanted to investigate those complaints, so they put Mr. Clayton on paid administrative leave pending investigation. They provided notice. Under the statute, this would have triggered Mr. Clayton’s right to appeal and have a hearing with the school board about the matter. After the hearing the school board could affirm or reverse the suspension, or take other action, like a dismissal. There’s a timeline for these steps to be taken.