Tough tenure laws protect trouble teachers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tough tenure laws protect trouble teachers

A teacher under investigation for showing a raunchy videos to students.

Many parents wonder why he wasn't fired immediately.

Alabama state tenure laws make it tougher than you might think.

When Steve White came under fire for showing a profane video to his 8th grade science classes, many parents said he should have been fired.

White, though, has tenure.

Under Alabama law, its not easy to let a school employee go.

"Tenure laws basically provide teachers with notice of what they're alleged to have done and the opportunity to be heard," says Decatur attorney Brian Oakes.

Brian Oakes is an attorney in Decatur and has handled many cases like this one.

Oakes says laws regarding tenured teachers are not the same as laws regarding other types of employment.

"You simply can't just fire an otherwise good employee who has a spotless record. Our statutes are clearly, squarely against that," says Oakes.

The Board of Education according to Oakes, had no choice but to follow the law.

"The Superintendent in that county handled this matter exactly how the laws in Alabama called for, particularly when you consider the fact that Alabama statutes require that you use porgressive discipline," Oakes explains.

We should mention Oakes once represented White on a non-disciplinary case.

In fact, he often represents teachers.

No word yet on whether he might represent White in this case.

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