Madison County Judge Sets Back Efforts to Recall School Board Members in Tennessee


One group’s mission to give all Tennessee voters the power to recall school board members has withered away because of a chancery court judge in Madison County.

As The Tennessee Star reported last month, members of the Tennessee General Assembly proposed a law that would have given voters statewide the power to recall school board members. But legislators later watered down the bill so that it would apply only to Madison County, and they later passed it into law.

A group of Williamson County parents recently formed Recall Williamson. They said they wanted state legislators to amend the law to give additional counties the right to recall school board officials. State Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) had planned to sponsor that bill, as reported.

But according to court filings, Madison County Chancellor James F. Butler recently ruled that the law in its current form does not comply with the Tennessee Constitution.

Butler, in his ruling, said the law “does not provide a process by which the County Commission gets local approval.”

Recall Williamson head Gary Humble told The Star Monday that Casada’s bill would have made the law applicable to the entire state.

“That is gone now because the statute doesn’t exist anymore. So if we were to do this legislatively we would have to put [up] a whole new bill, because that bill is gone now. It’s gone. There is no chance to amend it. We have to write a whole new bill. And that’s not going to happen,” Humble said.

“Last year, after it got lobbied, it barely made it out of the General Assembly. The [state] Senate passed it 31 to nothing the first time. But after it got amended in the [state] House and had to come back to the Senate for approval it only got 17 yes votes. What does that tell you? Everyone who voted yes previously had gotten lobbied. And they voted no the next time around.”

As Humble said, “no one is going to run that bill again, because it aint going to pass.”

Humble said last month that Williamson County parents were displeased with their local school board’s mandate that students wear masks or other face coverings for COVID-19 — and they wanted to recall certain people from office.

“As far as I am concerned, as a parent right now, with what’s in front of us, there is almost not an election right now more important than our school board members,” Humble said.

“That is why this fight meant so much to so many people.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]




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4 Thoughts to “Madison County Judge Sets Back Efforts to Recall School Board Members in Tennessee”

  1. james bellar

    including activist judges who do not care about peoples rights. if we elect them,we should have the right to remove them before there next election.

  2. Cannoneer2

    The FIRST priority should be the ability to recall members of the Tennessee General Assembly.

  3. Karen Bracken

    We should have the right to recall every and any elected official that breaks hos oath to support the Constitution and that goes for all levels of elected government not just school board members.

    1. Dave

      Karen, I agree strongly. Why should these corrupt judges get to stay in office when they make decisions like this? The power needs to go back to the voters.