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Legal Wins

Judge Finds Charlton County School System Guilty Of Willful Contempt, Awards GAE Attorney Fees

The saga for racial reconciliation and justice continues in south Georgia.
Published: May 18, 2023

One lens to view the “way it is” is Brown v. Board of Education. In 1954 Brown ruled that school systems separated by race were inherently unequal. It was not until sixty-five years later, or in July 2019, that a federal court declared that Charlton County Schools formally abolished their de jure Jim Crow segregated school system through integration and officially achieved “unitary status.” But how unitary can a school system truly be when it has not hired a Black principal in 136 years?

That may be the way it is, but it is not how it should be. On March 7, 2023, Charlton County Schools was ordered by Dwayne H. Gillis, Chief Judge, Charlton County Superior Court, to make available all records as requested under the Georgia Open Records Act, as well as the personal electronic devices (unlocked and security passcode removed) of the superintendent and all school board members.

On April 17, 2023, Judge Gillis found Charlton County Schools in willful contempt of the Court’s Order and awarded GAE $11,935.00 for the school system’s bad faith actions causing unnecessary trouble and expenses. Dr. Sherilonda Green v. Charlton County School District, case number 2022-SU-CV-01112.

GAE thanks Dwayne H. Gillis, Chief Judge, Charlton County Superior Court, for holding the school district accountable. GAE thanks Judge Gillis for holding the school district accountable for its bad-faith actions. GAE also thanks Dr. Sherilonda Green for hanging in with us as we fight deeply-rooted racism. Thank you,Dr. Green!


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The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) is Georgia's premier professional association for public school employees. We are a member-led organization supporting students and educators in Georgia's public schools through grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and legal action.