Judge Rules for Rouse

September  28, 2012

   Members of a school board in eastern Iowa have an important decision to make - re-instate a high school principal they tried to fire three years ago, or pay a fine and go to jail. That was the ruling Friday from a judge, in the three year legal fight between the Durant school board and Monica Rouse.
    Her lawyer, Cathy Cartee, says a judge ordered her full re-instatement as principal of Durant High School a year and-a-half ago. And after numerous court rulings in her favor, including the Iowa Supreme Court, she was finally allowed to return to work last April, but not as principal.
   "They put her in a board room, then in a grade school in the back of the library. They refused to allow her to perform the duties she had prior to being terminated. And so it was our opinion, and the judge affirmed it, that they are violating the court order because the court said restore her to the status of principal, not stick her in a room and treat her like a caged animal."
    Judge Mark Smith ruled the school board wilfully violated his order, and decided each board member should be fined 500 dollars, and spend 30 days in jail - or - re-instate her. The ruling does not specify a deadline, but Cartee thinks Rouse should resume her full duties on Monday.
    The judge also ordered the board to pay legal fees of 12,000 dollars.
    A message from the school district's lawyer, Rand Wonio, says, quote, "The Board will closely review the order with counsel and determine how to proceed."