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Lawsuit filed against Mobile Co. School Superintendent Martha Peek

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Local 15 News has learned that the Alabama Education Association has filed a lawsuit against Mobile County School Superintendent Martha Peek.

According to court documents, the lawsuit was filed Thursday, August 3. The plaintiffs are listed as AEA Spokesperson Jessie McDaniel, Abigail Davis, and Eric Beck. MCPSS Superintendent Martha Peek and acting deputy superintendent Karen Mohr are listed as the defendants.

The lawsuit accuses Peek and her office of attempting to “bar” AEA employees from school grounds.

Last week, McDaniel with the AEA told Local 15’s Jasmine Williams that they had been banned from the new teacher’s orientation. The AEA participates in the event each year and provides free lunch to the new teachers. He told Williams that he believed the AEA was banned because he was “talking to the media” about the school system’s budget woes.

The motions in the case read in part:

“Defendant Peek has recently promulgated a document reflecting supposed school system policy, which interferes with the ability of the AEA and the individual plaintiffs to provide legitimate assistance to….school employees”.

The lawsuit states the proposed change in school system policy happened right before the start of the school year and is based on “School Board Policy No. 911”. The policy states “letter of introduction” requests must submitted in writing to Rena Philips, the school system’s director of communications, before people visit campuses. The policy was already on the books, but, according to the lawsuit, was never enforced.

The lawsuit alleges this is a change in the “decade-long status quo” is an attempt to “bar the AEA access without incident”. The lawsuit calls this “arbitrary” and keeps the AEA from “exercising their constitutional right”.

The AEA is an educator’s union that consists of educators, administrators, school employees, staff, and custodians.

Local 15 News reached out to the AEA’s attorney who said that this is an active lawsuit and could not comment. Local 15 News also reached out to Rena Philips, the MCPSS director of communications, and haven’t heard back.

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