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Suspended employee sues Limestone County Board of Education president and superintendent

Mark Isley

In the lawsuit, Mark Isley claims he was slandered, libeled and retaliated against.

Posted: Feb 18, 2020 11:22 AM
Updated: Feb 18, 2020 11:43 AM

The Human Resources Director suspended by Limestone County Schools is suing the president and superintendent of the district’s board of education.

Mark Isley is requesting a trial by jury and a monetary award. The lawsuit claims his name and character have been slandered and libeled.

Michael Owens, the superintendent of the Limestone County Board of Education, and Bret McGill, the president of the Limestone County Board of Education, are named as defendants in the complaint.

In January, Isley's attorney shared a picture of a letter the district gave him putting him on paid leave. The letter did not say why he was placed on administrative leave but said he cannot be on school district property, and it ordered him to return all digital devices that belong to the district.

Isley says he was escorted from the board’s property by a sheriff’s deputy and that he was searched by two deputies.

The lawsuit also says a photograph of Owens was posted to social media showing him having his birthday party in Isley’s office, although Isley was the subject of an “on going investigation.”

According to the complaint, the board’s attorney was contacted to determine why Isley was placed on leave, but the attorney indicated in an email the superintendent is not obligated to provide a reason.

Isley alleges Owens indicated he will recommend that Isley be terminated at a board meeting scheduled for March 10.

The lawsuit accuses the board of trying to fire Isley because he notified the State Department of Education that the board was “violating board policy, state law, and placing the Board’s Title I funds in jeopardy by hiring teachers who do not meet specified criteria.”

The lawsuit also says Isley is participating in an ongoing investigation with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Education regarding the “Limestone County Board of Education’s misuse of state and federal funds.”

Isley claims he is being retaliated against and he is a “whistleblower.” He also accuses McGill of objecting to hire an African American candidate for a school principal position.

Furthermore, Isley claims special education students in the district were not receiving appropriate programming in the online school curriculum.

Isley is asking for a restraining order to prevent the board from the following:

(a) employing, hiring, investigating, meeting with any new potential candidates for hire including but not limited to Superintendents, administrative staff, principals, and teachers

(b) holding any Board meetings or votes concerning Dr. Isley’s employment or termination

(c) publishing any statement on social media or otherwise that Dr. Isley is under investigation; and

(d) withholding any information concerning the reason for Dr. Isley being placed on paid administrative leave.

Stay with WAAY 31 on air and online for updates to this story.

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