MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - The group Accountability for Madison County Schools continued its efforts Thursday of protesting the school board's handling of the Sparkman Middle School rape case.
Members held a peaceful protest across the street from the central office, similar to their protest in October.
Some of the members of the group were also looking to take their efforts a step further by addressing board members at the meeting.
They wanted to present to the board their petition of more than 103,000 signatures, all calling for the firing of school officials tied to the 2010 sexual assault of a 14-year-old special needs student.
The school board has a long-standing 72-hour policy, in which any one wishing to make public comments, must submit a written request at least 72 hours prior to the next scheduled meeting.
Aware of this policy, members followed protocol and emailed their request to superintendent David Copeland.
Protest organizer Jillian Fried says no one from the board responded to their request, yet she was listed on the meeting's agenda.
"Our assumption was, no reply meant that they weren't going to permit us to speak."
When her name was called to address the board, she was still outside protesting.
"They were on the agenda tonight to speak and Mr. (Jeff) Anderson called from them twice, so I'm not sure what happened with that," said board member Mary Louise Stowe.
Fried says that the lack of communication was intentional.
"I feel like it's the continued underhandedness and bending of policy that they use in their regular dealings."
The lawsuit, which is heading to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, has garnered national attention.
In 2013, a judge ruled that the school took appropriate action in handling the matter in regards to the federal claims in the lawsuit and the school stands behind that ruling. However, state claims against the defendants have yet to be dismissed.
Accountability for Madison County Schools also began an email campaign reaching out to state officials, including Governor Robert Bentley and the Alabama Board of Education.
The members plan to protest the next school board meeting, as well as attempt to once again address the board.