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Charter Lawsuit: The State Bar Accusations Is Shocking

Charter Lawsuit: The State Bar Accusations Is Shocking

It looks like the charter lawsuit may have found a new lawyer. Last week, Michael Redd, the outgoing mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, suddenly announced he was changing his position on charter schools. But now that he’s been forced, albeit belatedly, to make this almost 180-degree turn in his stance, the group opposing charter schools has showed it’s still in his corner: by declining to launch an ongoing campaign against his leadership. In light of that sudden change, I’ve asked my fellow Virginians whether they’re comfortable with the mayor-for-now flip-flop. Would the public be okay with a mayor willing to walk the talk on charters, but then caving in to big business pressure?

At first glance, it seems like a pretty transparent move by the members of the General Association of Businesses and Professional Associations. The GAB provides leadership for Charlotte, and most of its members are property owners in the city. Most also represent real estate companies, which own dozens of schools. Charter complaints have historically centered around poor educational quality and other issues, such asabus curbs, overcrowding, ineffective teaching techniques, and unsafe academic environments. These accusations have bubbled out into the public consciousness, and many citizens of Charlotte have grown tired of the accusations. The last thing they need is a bunch of lawsuits, particularly since the charges against Mr. Redd come so soon after he took office.

What does this all mean for the residents of Charlotte? Obviously, charter school complaints won’t go away. As the York attorney general noted in a letter to the board of teachers of the Charlotte School System, Mr. Redd “caved in to pressure from the Charlotte City Council.” The attorney general added that this is a “watershed moment for charter schools throughout the country.” Whether that’s true or not, it’s clear that Mr. Redd has already lost the trust of the people who elected him to serve as mayor.

The fact that Mr. Redd’s name is on the lawsuit does little to alleviate concerns about the accuracy of the accusations against him. In fact, Mr. Redd’s name appears on the lawsuit yet again, this time in a post-accusation news release. So is he really in trouble now? One might think so. This article points out some of the other people involved in the lawsuit, including the York attorney general, the school board of Charlotte, and the alleged victims of racial slurs. While all of these individuals may be innocent of the allegations that made headlines nationwide, none of them deserve to be accused of anything other than their role in creating the mess that is Mr. Redd’s current predicament.

So where does this leave Mr. Redd? It remains to be seen if the State Bar will pursue an investigation of the matter. Even if it does, there’s no guarantee that any evidence recovered will help the plaintiff in their defense against the charges. For instance, if the State Bar finds substantial evidence linking Mr. Redd and the lawsuit in question to racial slurs, it does little to ease subscribers’ fears of encountering similar situations in the future.

Other than the attorneys general in both states, few other officials have been named in the suit. Whether or not they may take part in the ongoing discussions remains to be seen. The city of Charlotte has already indicated that it would resist paying any money to settle the lawsuit, and the attorney general of New York has yet to weigh in. While we await further developments, subscribers should refrain from sharing the alleged racial slurs that have led to the lawsuit in the first place.

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