The state Board of Education is being sued over its decision to fire former state school Superintendent Jorea Marple. The lawsuit was filed Friday afternoon in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
Marple’s attorney Tim Barber tells MetroNews the board’s Nov. 14 decision was done in secret and brought to a close a nine-month effort by school board President Wade Linger to get rid of Marple.
Barber says Marple was denied the due process guaranteed her in both the U.S. and West Virginia Constitutions.
“You may bring charges against somebody. You put them in writing. You give them an opportunity to read that, to have a lawyer, to have a hearing in front of an independent tribunal. That’s how you do that,” Barber said. “That never was done. It’s completely absolutely at odds with every piece of jurisprudence there is.”
Barber says Linger and his allies threw Marple out for no reason. He says it’s an outrage.
“How can you do that?” Barber asked.
He says Linger was working behind the scenes to fire Marple even during a review of the former superintendent last summer when she was given glowing marks.
“Not a word. Not by Linger or any other board member ever said anything negative at all to her. Never brought anything up to her at all until they go into executive session on Nov. 14 and throw her out,” Barber said.
The lawsuit seeks among other things, compensatory and punitive damages, a full hearing to establish the exact charges as to why Marple was fired and a jury trial where applicable.
Barber added he found Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s State of State of Address earlier this week on education reform amusing.
“Every single line, every word, everything that they propose Dr. Marple had addressed that before she was dumped by this board,” Barber said. “For them to have this to be some revolutionary thing that is wonderful is a joke.”