Court Finds Durant School Board Members In Contempt - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Court Finds Durant School Board Members In Contempt



After a nearly three year process Monica Rouse's attorney believes justice has been done.

"I think now the board knows that if you don't do what a judge tells you, you're going to go to jail," says Cathy Cartee.

She says Friday's contempt ruling justifies the process to get Rouse's job back.

"I thought this was the only way that this board would be impressed to follow the court order."

The Durant School District has no comment on the ruling. Instead referring KWQC to the board's attorney. The attorney released a statement saying the ruling listed the incorrect school board members. Cartee says that's a mistake that will be fixed. But Durant resident's say they're left with a black eye.

"Everybody's looking down on us saying, what kind of school are we running here?"

Freda Fusco has lived in Durant for seven years. She has grandchildren in the district.

"All this is destructive to kids too, because then they're picking sides and I don't think it's fair," says Fusco.

"I think that they represent a community, and they probably feel that anything they do means they're doing it for the good of the community and they are pretty much above the law," says Durant resident Don Place.

He's happy his three children went through the Durant schools. But he's disappointed in the board. And says the punishment is enough.

"30 days in jail is no picnic, whether it's 30 days, or one day, I'm glad it's not me," says Place.

Cartee says she still has two lawsuits pending. And will be watching the board to make sure it follows the court order.

There has been another court ruling in the dispute between the Durant School Board and Durant High School principal, Monica Rouse. This time, the School Board could be facing jail time. The Iowa District Court for Cedar County ruled on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, that the school board violated a court order to give Principal Rouse her job back.

The case dates back to the fall of 2009, when Rouse was fired. Administrators alleged she changed records to allow some students to graduate. Rouse took her termination to court and won her job back.

But when she returned, she claimed she was given a back office, not allowed to interact with students and faculty or do her job. A Cedar County Court agreed and found the School Board in contempt.

The ruling states that each school board member should pay a $500 fine and spend 30 days in jail. But, the ruling goes on to state that the school board members may purge themselves of the contempt by "restoring to Principal Rouse all of her duties, privileges, authority and rights that she enjoyed prior to her termination as principal of Durant High School."

The court says that Rouse may share the duties with the current principal, Principal Neumann, but should not be prevented from doing her duties as principal. The rule also states that she be given an office with the administrative staff and have access to the administrative staff as she did before she was terminated.


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