Bobo-Jones arbitration decision remains months off

Lengthy process delays verdict as school begins


Mira Costello, News Editor

The arbitration for the case of Daniel Bobo-Jones, a science teacher fired from Lab in January, will likely not have a verdict until December. The issue remains unresolved as a new school year began.

According to Laboratory Schools Director Charlie Abelmann, the first day of the Bobo-Jones arbitration took place July 16 with another day of testimony held Aug. 30.

The arbitration will likely have its third and final day in early October, later than expected, according to Mr. Bobo-Jones. No new information is allowed, Mr. Bobo-Jones says, so the next date will only consist of rebuttals from each side.

This still doesn’t mean the end of the case, though.

“There’s additional time for each side to share information, and then the arbitrator makes a decision,” Dr. Abelmann said.

Jim Catlett, a science teacher who is Faculty Association president, said that one to two weeks after the arbitration dates, each side receives transcripts.

This is what pushes the date of the decision back: after receiving final transcripts, both lawyers have one to two more weeks to submit written arguments. The arbitrator then has 30 days to provide a decision, a time frame commitment that was the arbitrator’s choice, according to Mr. Bobo-Jones.

This means that the community may not receive answers right away, but there is a decision in the near future.

Mr. Bobo-Jones’ case created tension and speculation among students, administration and faculty alike.

Dr. Abelmann hopes to keep students informed and focused in light of whatever decision is revealed.

“It’s a small group of people who know all the facts,” Dr. Abelmann said. “I think it’s important to educate people how to be careful around making judgments without necessarily knowing all the facts, about any issue.”

Despite the emotional nature of the case, which saw strong support of Mr. Bobo-Jones continuing through the end of last school year, Dr. Abelmann said he is committed to supporting students.

“I’ll respect whatever that outcome is,” he said. “Lab’s a place with a lot of student voice, and I respect the student voice that’s here. I think it’s important for us to focus on having a great start of the school year and let the process unfold, and be focused on a new year and a new beginning.”