LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has filed an Emergency Motion for Stay and Expedited Consideration in the latest legal challenge against the new sweeping education law in the state.
On Friday, Pulaski County Judge Herbert Wright granted a temporary restraining order until June 20. The decision came as a result of a lawsuit filed by attorney Ali Noland several weeks ago, based on the emergency clauses passed with the law.
At the time of filing the suit, Noland told KARK 4 News the goal was to pump the brakes on the law being applied too soon.
She said she represents a group of citizens wanting enough time to potentially repeal the law, and a group from the Marvell Elaine School District who want to prevent LEARNS from prematurely allowing the district to be taken over by a charter school.
“Both of those groups are suing to stop the Department of Education, the Secretary of Education, the State Board of Education and the state of Arkansas from applying the LEARNS Act before the date that it should go into effect,” Noland said.
Griffin, however, said freezing the law means putting parts of it that benefit Arkansans right away on hold as well. He said this keeps schools from being able to prepare for the upcoming school year and changes that will be made under LEARNS, and it could potentially result in schools having to start late.
“The judge’s order last week freezes the educational system that needs to prepare for the fall and has the consequence of denying pay raises, denying maternity leave for teachers…” Griffin said.
Noland told KARK 4 News the emergency clauses in the law were passed unconstitutionally, though Griffin said there is no aspect whatsoever of the law that he cannot defend.
“We are vigorously defending it,” Griffin said. “It is constitutional- what was passed… consistent with the practices of the House and Senate for decades.”
Griffin also said that while he has been a supporter of LEARNS as a voter, he is focusing on his legal role in this case. When it comes to that legal role, Griffin said he believes the Arkansas Supreme Court will rule in his favor and appeal the temporary restraining order that has been signed off on by that judge.