Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wroten Family Granted an Injunction

From the Times this morning, an article about a temporary injunction granted to the Garfield student who was taken from the enrollment rolls at Garfield High. The judge will hear the case on January 21.

From the article:

"The lawsuit, which states that Wroten resides in a Seattle home, claims the school district has wronged the Wrotens in three ways: by denying Tony Wroten his constitutional right to a public education; by denying him due process; and by breaching the contract reached between the district and the Wroten family last summer."

I don't know about the last two but the first one is not going to fly. Mr. Wroten's parents had several choices about his education for these last weeks. They could have enrolled him in a Renton school OR applied as a non-resident to any number of Seattle public high schools. Nothing was stopping him from getting a public education. Just wanting that education at a particular school - no matter the emotional ties to the school or, in his case, athletic ties - is likely not going to be a great argument legally.

The injunction also allows him to play on Garfield's basketball team. However, if the court later decides against the Wrotens, the games he plays in at Garfield might be forfeited.

The PI article has a few more details.

"Watness set Jan. 21 as the next hearing date in the case. Wroten can return to school as soon as his family posts a $25,000 civil bond."

The judge stated,

"it would do irreparable harm to Tony Wroten's education if he stayed out of school."

The district's stance:

"In its opposition, Shannon McMinimee, general counsel for the district, provided copies of the Wrotens' employment records and title and tax records of the family's Renton home as evidence of their residency status.

She also argued that "the plaintiffs have continued to provide contradictory statements regarding who in their family lives where, and have failed to provide any credible evidence to refute the district's conclusion that they reside in Renton."

McMinimee said the Wrotens' "continuing pattern of deceit make them very uncredible, and their supporters are far from disinterested, and in some cases have established histories of untruthfulness in enrollment matters."

Let's get ready to rumble.

3 comments:

Roy Smith said...

The comments on the various PI and Seattle Times articles regarding Wroten's eligibility to play for Garfield under WIAA rules make for some interesting reading.

I personally am totally unfamiliar with how the WIAA handles this sort of stuff in practice, but several commenters on the newspaper articles seem to be of the opinion that WIAA generally takes a very hard line on transfer eligibility (which is what this would be about). Reading what their rules say make it fairly clear that the WIAA could very plausibly deny eligibility to Wroten for this season even if he is permanently reinstated as a Garfield student. Since this case has already received a great deal of publicity, I am sure the WIAA is currently scrutinizing the situation very closely (though, for the moment, they appear to be doing so very quietly).

As an added bonus, a strict reading of the rules also seems to indicate that he may not have been eligible to play last year, so in the most extreme situation, Garfield could end up forfeiting all the games that Wroten played in last season and any he plays in this year.

Personally, I feel very badly for whoever ended up in the number one spot on the waiting list when the waiting lists were dissolved.

MathTeacher42 said...

When I was in the midst of my Math Teacher Certification training in fall 2003, 1 of the instructors stated that more math teachers had been fired for complaining about sports teams than being fired for being bad math teachers.

We have Federal, State and Local budget disasters, and we're spending time on this nonsense?

Wow.

WenG said...

Where did Tony Wroten physically reside while attending school this year? I don't care how the district got their information. Isn't that the question? If he went home to Renton every night, then he's disqualified, isn't he? And I really can't imagine that his parents weren't clear on this fact. If they went all the way to getting a waiver, I can't imagine the district wasn't clear on this point: the student must reside in Seattle.

I'm sympathetic with Tony's situation. He's a gifted athlete, and it sounds like his future is being muddied by adults who think they can bend the rules, which leaves me wondering how routine it is for coaches and families to try and negotiate or fake a residence so a student plays for a particular school and team? I figured that after the debacle at Sealth with the women's team, this would have stopped. Maybe not?