Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


TEA wins Shelby Co. lawsuit, protects tenure rights of all educators

TEA’s legal team took Shelby County Schools to federal court on behalf of members who were “excessed” and denied their tenure rights. Shelby County Schools invented the term “excessing,” where a principal or director could lay-off teachers regardless of tenure status. On August 3, 2016, the federal judge agreed with TEA that tenure must be respected and that the law must be followed when staffing positions within the district, and now those members are entitled to reinstatement and full back pay.

It is a great victory for every member of the United Education Association of Shelby County and educators statewide, reinforcing the importance of tenure rights and association membership. This win shows what happens when we stand united.

The lawsuit over the rights of “excessed” tenured teachers in Shelby County was filed by TEA’s legal team prior to MSCEA’s disaffiliation from TEA.  The principle claims in the case were on behalf of five “excessed” tenured teachers.  TEA’s legal team decided to also name MSCEA as a party to prevent the district from settling individually with the educators without obtaining a judicial declaration about the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the “excessing” process.

On February 14, 2016, TEA’s legal team reached out to MSCEA executive director Keith Williams and MSCEA attorneys, inviting them to join the lawsuit, but received no response.

On its website, MSCEA calls this a “huge victory.”  It is a huge victory.  It is a victory achieved by TEA’s legal team, the same lawyers that MSCEA executive director Keith Williams has spent the last year criticizing.  It was a victory achieved without any contribution by the MSCEA lawyers Mr. Williams has urged members to rely upon.  

Educators statewide can trust TEA’s legal team, the ones who collectively have more than 60 years of experience in Tennessee education law, to defend your rights and protect you when you need it most. Our team has won virtually all of the important cases dealing with teachers’ rights statewide, works effectively with school district attorneys and officials for the good of teachers, understands legal strategy and issues of statewide significance, and is in the trenches fighting for you when a fight is needed.

Which organization do you want?  

TEA is the only choice if you value strong, dependable representation at the local, state and national levels.

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