Judge dismisses lawsuit filed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg parents over remote instruction

Lear Preston, 4, who attends Scott Joplin Elementary School, participates in her virtual classes as her mother, Brittany Preston, background, assists at their residence in Chicago's South Side, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. Starting Thursday, Lear will return to class as the nation's third-largest school district slowly reopens its doors following a bitter fight with the teachers union over COVID-19 safety protocols. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

CHARLOTTE — A judge has dismissed a complaint filed last year against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools which sought to return instruction for the district’s 147,000 students to the classroom.

The complaint alleged CMS did not “sufficiently prepare for active instruction for the 2020-21 school year,” and is a violation of the sound, basic education guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution.

N.C. Superior Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams dismissed all five major claims of the suit, ruling the suit had “insufficient facts” to prove their claims, including how remote learning caused “irreparable harm” to the education of their children.

“Plaintiffs, who are adults and not school-aged children, have no education rights under the North Carolina Statutes or North Carolina Constitution,” Eady-Williams’ ruling reads in part.

The lawsuit also named the local chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) as a defendant, stating that “members of the NCAE organized a campaign to improperly influence and intimidate board members” as well as the CMS superintendent.

The plaintiffs in the case are five parents and are represented by David Redding of the Redding and Jones law firm in Charlotte.

“My clients are very disappointed at the outcome as they believe that the lawsuit was the only means that the parents of Mecklenburg County had of holding CMS and the NCAE accountable for their actions,” Redding told NSJ in an email.

While Eady-Williams dismissed all five claims in the suit, one of the dismissal’s was without prejudice.

“They are currently considering whether to refile the claims that were dismissed by the judge without prejudice but haven’t reached a decision yet,” Redding said. “A challenge with refiling is the judge’s requirement that individual students be named as plaintiffs with specific harm alleged. Obviously, very few parents would be willing to expose their children to that kind of public scrutiny, particularly in the current social media environment.”

About A.P. Dillon 409 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_