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Parents Ordered To Pay NCAE's Legal Fees After Suing Teacher Group Over Remote Classes

Natalie and Nick Foy
Natalie and Nick Foy were among the parents who sued when their son (above) was forced to learn remotely at the start of 2020-21.

Five Charlotte parents who sued in September to force Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to resume in-person classes have been ordered to pay $11,620 in legal fees for two educators' groups included in their suit.

The parents filed suit in early September, when CMS and many other districts across the state were holding all-remote classes because of the pandemic. The suit was dismissed in March, as CMS was in the process of bringing students back to classrooms.

They named the CMS board, Superintendent Earnest Winston, board Chair Elyse Dashew, the North Carolina Association of Educators and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, which is a branch of NCAE. The parents named the educator groups because of their advocacy for remote learning; they alleged that violated the state constitution and laws against collective bargaining.

In an order dated July 18, Judge Karen Eady-Williams ruled that the associations are private groups that can't violate constitutional and statutory requirements for public bodies. She ordered the plaintiffs to pay attorney's fees.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.