COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A three-member tribunal, appointed by the Cobb County Board of Education, issued a decision yesterday rejecting the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate longtime Cobb County educator Katherine Rinderle for reading My Shadow is Purple to her gifted students at Due West Elementary School. Rinderle is represented by the Goodmark Law Firm and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
“I appreciate the tribunal's consideration of my case and decision not to terminate me,” Rinderle said. “However, I disagree that I've violated any policy and that finding remains unjust and punitive. The district has not provided adequate guidance on how I am supposed to know what is and what is not allowed in the classroom based on these vague policies. Prioritizing behaviors and attitudes rooted in bigotry and discrimination does not benefit students and undermines the quality of education and the duty of educators.”
“After hearing the evidence, the tribunal made the right decision on Ms. Rinderle’s termination,” said Attorney Craig Goodmark. “But we disagree with their findings of wrongdoing on two charges presented by the Cobb County School District. Ms. Rinderle is an accomplished educator with a proven track record for elevating student achievement. Reading an age-appropriate book chosen by her gifted students that celebrates kindness and inclusion just further supports that fact. We strongly urge the Cobb County School Board to accept the tribunal’s recommendation as to termination and reject its finding of wrongdoing. Anything less would be unjust.”
“The tribunal’s decision sends a clear message that politically-motivated efforts that harm students and attack teachers have no place in our schools,” said Michael Tafelski, senior supervising attorney for children’s rights at the SPLC. “Ms. Rinderle courageously challenged her termination in the face of hate and bigotry. And our message to the teachers in Cobb County and across Georgia, like Ms. Rinderle, working for equity, acceptance, and inclusion in your classrooms: Please don’t stop.”
The Cobb County School Board will vote to adopt, reject or modify the tribunal’s decision during an upcoming school board meeting. Learn more about Katherine Rinderle’s story here.