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Court orders Oklahoma City teacher reinstated

DAWN MARKS Modified: August 27, 2009 at 10:05 am •  Published: August 27, 2009
Terminated Oklahoma City teacher Joe Quigley is on his way back to the classroom.

He’s awaiting word on where he’ll be assigned to teach, his attorney said.

Oklahoma County District Judge Barbara Swinton ruled Tuesday that Quigley was wrongfully terminated and did not neglect his duties, attorney Timothy Melton said Wednesday.

Oklahoma City School Board members voted in May to dismiss Quigley, an English teacher, on grounds that he repeatedly neglected his duties and didn’t follow school policies like posting of zeros in his grade book and sending mass e-mails. Quigley’s attorneys said that his advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students was the reason Northwest Classen High School administrators singled him out.

Quigley appealed the board’s decision to district court arguing that he did not neglect his duties.

"His outspokenness made him a very visible teacher in that district,” Melton said. "The administration at Northwest Classen High School has, for the last two years, done its best to set Mr. Quigley up to fail. Fortunately, he is too good a teacher and too strong a personality to be defeated by petty, nonteaching bureaucrats who put rules ahead of the children.”

Kathleen Kennedy, Oklahoma City School District spokeswoman, said Quigley will be reinstated but administrators have not decided where.