Judge Grants Charter School's Request for Restraining Order

September 7, 2022

On Wednesday, Judge Laura Scott granted a request to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) by Vanguard Academy against the State Charter School Board’s (SCSB) decision to remove all 9 members of Vanguard’s board. The SCSB’s decision was based primarily on membership or affiliation with the DCCS for board members.

To grant a TRO, plaintiffs must show three things:

• there will be irreparable harm if the TRO is not issued,

• the irreparable harm outweighs any harm that would be caused by issuing the TRO,

• the TRO would not be against the public interest, and

• you are very likely to win your underlying case, or the case presents serious issues that should be decided by the court.

Judge Scott directed counselors back to these points several times throughout the hearing. Vanguard’s attorney Dave Mortenson argued there would be irreparable harm because students at Vanguard would no longer feel safe if the board were replaced and a significant number of parents would remove their children from the school.

Assistant AG David Jones argued against Mortenson’s statements saying the “the sky will not fall” as suggested, and the irreparable harm would be self-inflicted. It appeared Judge Scott agreed with the self-inflicted portion of Jones’ argument.

Mortenson argued that a portion of the harm would be caused by the board removal itself because it would put in jeopardy their ability to have their case heard should new board members vote to discontinue the lawsuit.

Judge Scott seemed to key in on this point, asking Asst. AG Jones if he would allow the case to continue under a new board at Vanguard. Jones didn’t have a clear answer. Judge Scott expressed concern that the new appointed board would likely dismiss the case and the merits of the lawsuit would not be heard.

Ultimately, the judge granted the TRO, giving the current board at Vanguard a temporary stay for the time being.

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