October 9, 2015
Southern Torch (3535 articles)
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Supreme Court sides with Thrash, denies DeKalb BOE appeal

ThrashBy Joseph M. Morgan

joseph@southerntorch.com

After almost a year and a half of delays and legal wrangling, former Fyffe High School Boys Basketball Coach Neal Thrash could finally soon get his day in court. Earlier this week the Alabama Supreme Court (ASC) announced their decision to deny an appeal from DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Hugh Taylor and the DeKalb County Board of Education to reverse a 2014 ruling by 9th Judicial Circuit Judge Jeremy Taylor in a lawsuit between Thrash and the BOE.

In April 2014 DeKalb County Superintendent Hugh Taylor suspended Thrash from his coaching duties at Fyffe High School. Superintendent Taylor made the decision without board approval or consultation, saying later that an internal investigation revealed that Thrash was bullying his players.

Thrash filed a lawsuit over the suspension and Circuit Judge Jeremy Taylor ruled that Thrash should have had the opportunity of a hearing before the DeKalb County Board of Education prior to his suspension. On Sept. 14, 2014, Jeremy Taylor set a court date for Nov. 17, 2014, for Thrash to make a case for the hearing.

In response, DeKalb BOE attorneys swiftly filed a writ of mandmamus appealing to the Alabama Supreme Court to reverse the ruling by Judge Taylor that Thrash deserved a hearing before the board before a decision and ruling was made on suspension. In addition to their appeal to the Supreme Court, the BOE was able to delay the Nov. 17, 2014 court date indefinitely by also requesting a stay to halt circuit court proceedings for as long as it would take the Supreme Court to reach a decision. Finally, almost a year later, that day has come.

So what does all that mean? The Supreme Court’s decision this week to dismiss the superintendent and BOE’s writ sends the case back to Judge Taylor. Now that the case is back in his court, Judge Taylor will set a court date and the case will proceed. Finally.

Coach Neal Thrash said he could not comment on his case at this time. Efforts to reach Superintendent Hugh Taylor were unsuccessful.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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