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NC teachers group to file second lawsuit over tenure

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Ann Petitjean and Stephanie Wallace (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Two Forsyth County teachers are among six plaintiffs planning to file a lawsuit Tuesday against the state.

The lawsuit, announced Friday, will be the second brought by the N.C. Association of Educators related to recent legislation passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Stephanie Wallace, an East Forsyth High School English teacher, is one of the plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the repeal of career status by the General Assembly during the last legislative session.

Annette Beatty, a Clemmons Elementary School teacher, is the other. Career status, known as tenure, was thrown out in place of a new contract model that allows for contract lengths between one and four years. When a contract ends, districts may now choose to not renew the contract for any reason.

Ann Petitjean, president of the Forsyth County Association of Educators, said the loss of career status takes away a teacher’s right to due process. Teachers deserve to know why they’re being let go and have the right to protest that, she said. Petitjean said career status does not protect bad teachers, as opponents of the practice have said.

On Wednesday, the NCAE and the North Carolina Justice Center filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the voucher program that would give public dollars to private schools in the form of grants for poor students.

By Arika Herron/Winston-Salem Journal


    • Karen Amos Hopkins

      The problem is they can fire you for NO reason! Anyone not in the teaching profession doesn’t have a clue. Teachers already work constant overtime without being paid for it. They also have to wait four years before reaching tenure. How many other jobs have a probationary period that long? If there are lazy people in the profession then those are few and far between. Over generalizing the issue is exactly what the politicians want you to do. But I promise, if you are one of them, then you are helping to ruin public education in our state. Things aren’t perfect, but then our state legislature has been pushing it in the wrong direction for at least a decade now.

      • Rob Tolf

        Karen, that is exactly what every other worker in the state faces. The biggest difference is that other professions do not offer “tenure”. The fact is that any employee can be fired at any time for any reason, or no reason, why should teachers be any different. A good teacher doing a good job, in reality really has nothing to fear.

      • S Miller

        Thank you for your well-written and accurate response! Rob, in response to your last statement, I’m assuming you’re not in the education field, otherwise you would know that it is not necessarily true.

      • debra reece simons

        No tenure for RN’s who work for years in life and death situations .. never time to sit for lunch on many hospital floors. Originally tenure was brought into place for university level professors for job security when they are doing controversial research, etc. It was actually not meant for other teachers not at the college level. how that happened at all is a mystery.

  • sinnerfrank

    Typical teacher union tactic,to keep lazy,unproductive people on the job!! Simple if you fail to meet the job requirement then your gone !!

  • Todd

    This is a right to work state . With that being said if your employer wants to walk into work Monday and FIRE EVRYONE their they can with out reason.

  • Glenn Stanley

    NCAE. I have one question. $290 Billion from the lottery, where has this money gone? You have all kind of degrees do you know how much money this is? Do you know how many new schools this would build? Before you keep whining show the taxpayers where this money was spent. How much of this cash went to these professors at state university’s that work 3 or 4 hours a week and draw 6 figure salaries.

  • Adam Martin

    The heck with your tenure. If you cannot adequately do your job, you lose it just like any other job. Just because you have a teaching degree doesn’t mean you’re some kind of royalty. Get over yourselves.

  • Moses

    I have been at my company in my position longer than anyone else and it does not benefit me one bit; you are valued if you produce; the way to stay employed is to stay valued; no automatic tenure for anyone!!! do you job and you stayed employed

  • Michael

    I have seen the opposite happening. It allows bad principles to get rid of good teachers in order to keep them from saying anything about the things going on at the school. There are two sides to every story. This happens more than people realize.

  • Michael

    Also, when good teachers have tenure, it allows them to take a stand for things in the school that are not going correctly without fear of losing their job. Until I saw first hand the effect of good teachers losing their tenure, I would have agreed this would have been the perfect solution to getting rid of teachers who are just collecting a paycheck; however, truth is, they are good at finding a way to keep their job. The teachers who are awarded tenure will start to become based on politics, not based on merit.

  • Randy

    Right to work state means ” you cannot be compelled or made to join a union” it has nothing to do with being fired or not.

  • Timothy Hamberstan

    I wished people would know what they were talking about before they start leaving comments and sound really stupid… A right to work state has nothing to do with getting fired. A right to work state like Randy says has to do with joining a union. A Work At Will state such as NC means a boss can terminate you. HOWEVER if there are policies in place they have to follow their policy to fire you.

    Second, Glenn, the NCAE has nothing to do with the “Educational Lottery”. It was designed to supplement the State Educational Budget however the corrupt politicians in Raleigh started taking money out of the State Educational Budget and replacing it with lottery money. Know what you are running your mouth about before you make yourself look stupid.

    Last, I wished that some of your running your mouths would work as a teacher. I am sure most of your are M-F 8-5 jobs with a hour lunch. If you work over you get over time. Lets look at a teacher. The school board policy says they have a 7 hour and 45 minute work day. However this year at a local school the principal made them start coming in 20 minutes earlier, which equals 100 extra minutes. Took away their duty free lunches except for 1 day and took away their planning periods on 4 days which is against the law. Since WSFCS gets federal money for planning periods, the schools are required to give the teachers a planning period or give the federal money back. Do you really think the WSFCS is giving any money back? At this same school they have a mandatory 1 1/2 hour meeting every Monday, another mandatory 1 1/2 hour meeting every Tuesday, a mandatory 1 hour meeting on Wednesdays. In case you lost count, that is 5 1/2 additional hours of work with no additional pay. Would you work at your job for an additional 5 1/2 hours a week with no OT? Then if its a PTA night, Curriculum Night, Mcdonalds Night, Skate Night, Spring Fling, Fall Festival, Chorus Ensemble or any other after school activity the teachers are required to be there. Now lets look at conferences… If a parent wants a conference 1 hour before school starts or 1 hour after school is dismissed then the teacher is required to be there. Even if the parent doesn’t show up 10 times and reschedules 10 times they still have to be there. Certain grade levels have to do home visits, on their own time, in their own car using their own gas and no one at the school knows what address they are going to or what time they are going so if the teacher ends up dead, no one will know about it. So before you start running your mouth about how easy a teacher is, walk a mile in their shoes then you an talk.

  • Sambo

    Why are all the teacher coming here to complain about their job…shouldn’t you find a better one? I don’t have tenure at my job… Would you rather have a pay raise that you all have been droning on about or tenure? You certainly shouldn’t have both!

    • S Miller

      Sambo, why shouldn’t teachers be allowed both a raise and tenure? What basis do you have for that? One really doesn’t have anything to do with the other. Do you know what goes on in a public school classroom and exactly what a public school teacher’s job entails?

  • Logan James Denny

    North Carolina is both a Right-to-work state, as well as a Work-at-will state. The latter title is the applicable one to this article. It’s the one that states that an employment contract may be terminated at any time, with or without reason, with or without notice, by either the employer or the employee. The right-to-work that I see many of you referencing is for union strikes, and such. It allows employees the option to refuse to join labor unions so they may still cross picket lines and work, when those who are unionized have been forbidden by their “representatives” from earning their keep.

  • Sid

    You knew what the hours and pay and everything was before you became a teacher. Not happy , find another job that’s what the rest of us do

  • Leonard Harrison

    Since I’m a staunch Republican I feel the pain most of you are speaking about. But I’ve also been very involved in my kids education. Most parents aren’t. When I arrange meetings with teachers to discuss issues I’m called different by teachers. When I show up for teacher parent conferences its a ghost town. Teachers need tenure due to horrid lazy parents and bias administrators. There needs to be a system in place to rid a bad teacher of tenure but administrators can ruin a career not just a job here or there. If you get fired from a job so what you move on to the next. If a good teacher happens to be conservative and a liberal dislikes them they can blackball them from a school district or even area forcing a family to move. Administrators have way too much power without tenure.

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