Former Male High principal David Mike loses court appeal to get - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former Male High principal David Mike loses court appeal to get job back

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Former Male High principal David Mike and his attorney William Walsh at his tribunal hearing in 2014. Former Male High principal David Mike and his attorney William Walsh at his tribunal hearing in 2014.
David Mike at his appeal in Jefferson Circuit Court on Nov. 4, 2015 (WDRB News) David Mike at his appeal in Jefferson Circuit Court on Nov. 4, 2015 (WDRB News)
Jefferson Circuit Judge James Shake on Nov. 4, 2015 (WDRB News) Jefferson Circuit Judge James Shake on Nov. 4, 2015 (WDRB News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson Circuit Court judge has upheld the firing of former Louisville Male High School principal David Mike.

Judge James Shake has affirmed a state tribunal decision from earlier this year that sided with Jefferson County Public Schools after the district fired Mike in October 2014 for "conduct unbecoming of a teacher." 

In his order, Shake says there was "substantial evidence to the tribunal to support its findings of fact and conclusions of law."

"Therefore, the termination of David Mike was proper as a matter of law," the order reads.

[READ THE ORDER]

The appeal was heard in Shake's courtroom on Nov. 4, where both sides argued their case.

Mike received his termination letter nearly a year after testing improprieties involving the ACT Compass Test were first alleged at Male High.

The letter said Mike did not create a proper testing environment and that he told a teacher to destroy documents that could have proven there was cheating happening.

Mike's attorney, William Walsh, has argued that JCPS was "totally wrong and a grave injustice occurred."

Walsh argued there wasn't enough evidence to prove the former principal knew about any cheating during the ACT tests.

Byron Leet, a JCPS attorney, argued there was ample evidence of wrongdoing on Mike's part and that his termination was justifiable.

Leet said the tribunal did find enough evidence that showed Mike allowed the ACT cheating to take place.

"The tribunal, the statutory jury selected to hear this case, heard evidence from 17 witnesses over the course of 3 days and reviewed two three-ring binders full of exhibits,” Leet said during the appeal.

Shake ultimately agreed with Leet. In his order, Shake quoted JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens' testimony before the tribunal:

"We have 101,000 students in Jefferson County, 15,000 employees, 155 principals. Testing is for educators. Testing is one of the most important functions that we do; that it has the highest sense of integrity; that people can count on the results; that it be done with great care is very, very important," Hargens testified.

Shake said for this reason, "three separate investigations took place to determine the root cause of the problems at Male." He added:

  • "The decision to terminate David Mike was reviewed before a committee of educators before being acted on by Dr. Hargens."
  • "That decision was then reviewed by a neutral tribunal and for this reason, the court has conducted a thorough judicial review of the facts and law submitted to the tribunal."

When reached by phone, Walsh said he had not yet received a copy of the order and could not comment about it. 

Leet told WDRB News he just received the order on Friday and that "the opinion speaks for itself."

Mike does have the option of appealing Shake's ruling to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. 

Related:

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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