Articles Posted in Education

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Georgia Education Lawyer Julie Oinonen won an appeal before the State Board of Education on behalf of Mrs. Cindy Williams, a Georgia Association of Educators’ member and one of the sole African American guidance counselors in Grady County School System in southwest Georgia who was wrongfully terminated.

Fortunately,the Grady County Board of Education agreed to award a $50,000 settlement as detailed in the front page of the Thompson Times newspaper. Along with the settlement, the Georgia State Board of Education granted Williams’ appeal, reversing the Grady board’s vote to terminate her employment.

Mrs. Williams’ attorney, Julie Oinonen of Williams Oinonen LLC in Atlanta, said of the settlement:

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Georgia Education Lawyer won back the $750 of liquidated damages taken out of 150 DeKalb County School teachers’ contracts. The suit, brought on behalf of two plaintiffs for the loss of $1500.00, ended up having a settlement of $160,000 to pay each of the 150 teachers back their unpaid wages, paid $50,000 in attorney fees, and placed a moratorium of the liquidated damages provision in teacher contracts for the 2017-2018 school year.

The two courageous plaintiffs, Chayka Bettis and Leslie Hein, were members of the Georgia Association of Educators. Williams Oinonen LLC partner Julie Oinonen stated that “we filed the lawsuit hoping to establish a state-wide precedent for all Georgia educators. We hope that DeKalb will uphold the moratorium and other school districts will follow their lead.”

To read the front page Daily Report article, click here.

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Georgia Education Lawyer obtained a “no probable cause” finding for Ms. Stephanie Fleet effectively dismissing the charges that were brought against her by the Attorney General on behalf of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the state agency that regulates teacher contracts.

Ms. Fleet was exonerated from the charges brought against her where she was accused of improperly restraining a student by using a chokehold. In fact, Ms. Fleet was restraining a violent student who had tried to swung at her and other students repeatedly. In order to protect herself and other students, Ms. Fleet performed a lawful restraint on the student but did not at anytime touch his neck.

Mrs. Fleet, a Georgia Association of Educators’ member, was gratified for the help both GAE and her attorney provided stating: “I am very grateful that I had GAE’s team on my side. My UniServ Directors went to bat for me and their network attorney represented me with real passion.”

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Good Education Lawyer Julie Oinonen recently won a hard fought Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) case on behalf of a Georgia educator who was wrongfully accused of violating the standards of ethics and risked having her teaching certification suspended. The Georgia PSC wished to suspend the educator’s teaching license certification. The case was tried before an Administrative Law Judge in the Bartow County Courthouse. The Attorney General of the State of Georgia prosecuted the case on behalf of the PSC. The Judge’s case decision successfully vindicated the educator rejecting the PSC’s recommendation and reversing the decision to suspend the Assistant Principal’s teaching certification. The educator was very happy with the representation Williams Oinonen LLC provided. She gave us permission to share her testimonial writing:

“Dear Julie, I wanted to thank you wholeheartedly for the work that you did on my case. Your knowledge and expertise were invaluable in proving to the PSC that I had, in fact, followed proper procedures and that I was not in violation of the law. After more than 18 months of uncertainty and worry, I can finally rest assured that I may move forward in my career. May God’s blessings surround you in all that you do! With gratitude.”

Williams Oinonen LLC is proud to be an attorney affiliate of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). Teachers and administrators who are not members are free to hire us privately but Good Georgia Education Attorney recommends that every teacher in Georgia sign up for the workplace protection GAE offers which will pay for for full legal coverage in the event of a PSC charge.

 

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Courageous APS Whistleblower Dr. Jackson Reynolds successfully had her case dismissed before the Professional Standards Commission.

Dr. Jackson Reynolds was retaliated against after she reported the abuse of her special needs students that had been captured on video.

Dr. Jackson was forced to report the abuse to Child Protective Services and the Atlanta Police Department all by herself. APS never questioned her about the matter until she was compelled to go on the six o clock news, Nancy Grace on CNN, and other news media. Soon after she was called in for questioning and was summarily terminated from her position.

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Good Georgia Education Lawyer represents Dr. Jackson Reynolds, an APS whistleblower and former special education teacher who rescued her severely autistic special needs students from child abuse after she uncovered that certain paraprofessional staff had been physically assaulting them. She uncovered the abuse after setting up video cameras in her classroom and immediately reported the abuse within the 24 hour requisite period.

Dr. Jackson Reynolds had been complaining about the paraprofessionals negligent behavior to her Principal all year long to no avail. She repeatedly complained (well documented in writing) that they refused to do their job and watched movies all day long on their laptops. She was threatened by her supervisor after she made an attempt to report it to central office downtown. Subsequently, in an effort to prove what was happening, she set up the video cameras. It was then that she discovered the horrific reality of what actually was occurring to the children behind her back: staff abused the children when she stepped outside of the classroom, behind the partition wall to attend to diaper changes, or they were outside her line of vision.

After reporting the abuse to APS, APS failed to properly investigate, not even formally questioning her as to what she had seen. Shortly after reporting the abuse, Dr. Jackson was horrified to learn that APS concluded the investigation without questioning her or reporting it to Child Protective Services, claiming they had found no evidence even though the only people they had interviewed were the two abusers and a non-verbal autistic victim.

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From Williams Oinonen LLC Concerning Dr. Tori Reynolds Jackson

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Here is Gilda Day’s Response Brief in her case before the Georgia Court of Appeals. Many Floyd County Association of Educator members have wished to see it. For easier viewing, click on the brief and you can view it on the Scribd webpage:

a15a0402 – Brief of Appellee -Ee Gilda Day

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Georgia Education Lawyer Julie Oinonen is representing DeKalb County teachers and Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) members in a suit against DeKalb County School District. The lawsuit alleges strong-arm bully tactics by the school district. See the Courthouse News article on it here.

Good Georgia Lawyer contends that this issue is part of the ongoing war on teachers and public education that is driving educators out of the profession and further destroying teacher morale. Each year, educators move to different parts of Georgia transferring to other school districts for any number of reasons such as professional career opportunities, financial, health, or family reasons. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit had to move due to very important family needs. They notified their principals and gave the earliest possible notice. Then they helped find new hires to replace their position, thus causing absolutely no financial loss to the School District.

The District bullied the teachers by threatening their teaching certification which all teachers need to keep in good standing in order to teach and maintain gainful employment to provide for their families. The District claimed that it was a sanctionable action by the PSC (the Professional Standards Commission, the regulatory body for teacher certification.) The trouble is that wasn’t true and the District knew it. Paul Shaw, Director of the PSC had already advised them that for teachers to resign prior to June 1st would not be considered a sanctionable violation of the code of ethics.

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Floyd County Board of Education Terry Williamson was sued this week for alleged violations of Georgia law. If you have information concerning this matter, please contact Williams Oinonen LLC at 404-654-0288.

To read the lawsuit you may view here:

Lawsuit Against Terry Williamson