The saga of Joe Palazzolo is still going strong.
In 2010, the former assistant principal at Arlington Heights High School was fired for blowing the whistle on attendance fraud, sexual relations between students and teachers, and discrimination at the school. He filed a wrongful termination suit against the Fort Worth school district that was heard in Wise County in March 2014. The jury sided with Palazzolo and awarded him $2.4 million in damages. The school board immediately appealed, and in July 2016, the Second District Court of Appeals in Fort Worth reversed the jury decision and ordered a new trial.
Rather than go to trial, the school district appealed directly to the State Supreme Court, asking for the case to be dismissed. On December 17, the Court ruled that the case would not be dismissed and remanded it for a new trial back in the Wise County courthouse where it all began.
“Everything up to this point is now garbage,” said Palazzolo’s appeals court attorney, Paul Wieneskie, referring to the last four years of courtroom drama. “We’re hoping a new trial can be set for this spring, but who knows with this ISD board? And even if Joe wins in court again, there is nothing to stop the ISD from starting the appeals process all over. If I were a taxpayer in Fort Worth, and the ISD loses again and appeals again, I would start asking hard questions about how much of my money is being spent on this case,” a case in which the good guy was obviously mistreated.
For his part, Palazzolo remains up to the challenge. “I am still alive and kicking and coming after them,” he told us. “They ruined my career in education” — he has been unable to get a job anywhere in education since — “and there is a price to pay for that.”