NewsLocal News


Lawsuit filed in 'racially motivated' firing of Valdosta High head football coach

Posted at 9:35 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 21:35:06-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — The wife of the former head football coach at Valdosta High School has filed a law suit against the City of Valdosta Board of Education in the firing of her husband in late January.

Leah Rodemaker's is suing for:

  • All Defendants be temporarily restrained and enjoined from non-renewing Coach Alan Rodemaker for the contract year commencing July 1, 2020;
  • Defendants be enjoined from making efforts to replace Alan Rodemaker as the head coach of the Valdosta High School Wildcats;
  • That Defendants be required to renew Alan Rodemaker’s contract for one year from July 1, 2020 unless they can show a meaningful, non-racial reason for his non-renewal;

The lawsuit alleges the vote which resulted in Alan Rodemaker's contract not being renewed was "racially motivated." Leah Rodemaker notes in her lawsuit the vote in January was the first vote taken with the new, African-American majority school board.

"All five African-American board members voted against Coach Rodemaker’s renewal. None of the Board members who voted against Coach Rodemaker’s renewal provided a reason for that vote."

The suit reads:

-Upon information and belief, the goal of the African-American majority of the Board in non-renewing Coach Rodemaker was simply to replace a white coach with an African-American coach.
-On information and belief, the conspiracy to non-renew Coach Rodemaker occurred in illegal meetings held by the African American Board members. (See Eric Howard text messages, attached as Ex. “A”).
-These meetings were held in violation of Georgia’s Open Meetings Act. As stated by Valdosta City School Board member Kelly Wilson during the February 11, 2020 meeting of the Board: the actions of the School Board with regard to Coach Rodemaker were not only improper, but probably illegal.

The lawsuit also takes issue with the residency of board member Warren Lee, alleging Lee does not reside in Lowndes County and is therefore ineligible for his position.

The lawsuit claims that the actions taken by the school board have "already caused Plaintiff Leah Rodemaker immediate and irreparable harm," and would have "to move, pull her children out of school, and expend time and resources looking for new employment."

Leah Rodemaker is requesting a trial by jury.