Jeremy Newsome Hearing – Day 2

I’ll just keep adding to this post as developments occur. We’re in a short recess right now while MHSAA lead attorney Jeff Trotter reviews some federal regulations about hearing cases involving special ed students. Not sure of the specifics, but I think Trotter is looking for another way to dismiss this case.

Judge John Hatcher just said we’ll be lucky to finish this today. *groan* Not like I haven’t got other stuff to do – Game of the Week to write, stats to gather, preparing for Saturday’s softball state finals, a basketball preview, etc. Trotter is doing his best to drag this out, trying to peck away at Dr. Debra Calvert’s credibility (she’s Nettleton’s special ed director). She’s back on the stand this morning.

One interesting note: Calvert applied for the Okolona superintendent’s job last year but was not hired. For the record, Jeremy Newsome and his mother are sitting through all this, as they did yesterday. He’s missing a lot of school.

___

10:45 a.m.

Calvert’s finally done, though plaintiff attorney Jim Waide said she might be called again later for rebuttal.

Trotter has been focusing on whether basketball is a necessary part of Newsome’s individualized education plan (IEP), whether it will help him in his math and reading disabilities. And he’s asking what would happen if Newsome was dismissed from the team, how that would affect the IEP. Also, he’s asking about the process of forming the IEP and the process of challenging it by someone who doesn’t agree with it.

It’s all quite confusing. Judge Hatcher also asked questions, mostly dealing with the handbook each student and parent must sign, and did Calvert know if anything about the MHSAA was contained in that handbook. Calvert does not know. I think Hatcher was trying to get at whether Newsome should be subject to the MHSAA’s eligibility ruling because of the handbook he signed (though Calvert said she doesn’t know if he and his mom, Lyndia Traylor, have signed it yet).

___

11:50 a.m.

Lunch time! Lyndia Traylor, Newsome’s mother, has been testifying. Waide just finished up with here, and Trotter will cross-examine after lunch.

Traylor talked about not knowing that Jeremy had a learning disability; about what she saw at Okolona when substitute teaching there (“I was real disappointed.”); about why she moved to Nettleton (separation from her husband); about how much Nettleton is helping her son academically; how she is more interested in Newsome’s academics than his athletics; but, how she understands that an athletic college scholarship could help him academically.

There was much more, but I’m hungry.

___

2:43 p.m.

Another recess, finally. Said goodbye to two Cokes and a Frappucinno. Anyway, Newsome’s mom is still testifying. Trotter’s been grilling her on the educational experiences of each one of her seven children, as well as when she first became concerned about Newsome’s struggles in reading and math. Also, he tried to pin down when Traylor moved to Nettleton, when he withdrew from Okolona and enrolled at Nettleton. He also asked about her health issues; at one point we were examing medicine bottles.

This is taking forever. It will indeed go at least one more day, just not sure when.

–––

5 p.m.

Done for the day. When we shall return has yet to be determined.

Mrs. Traylor finished up her testimony. She was asked at length about how she felt about the quality of Okolona schools in regards to her children’s education – she has seven in all. She said she had no reservations for years because she had nothing to compare Okolona to. Now that Newsome’s at Nettleton, Traylor said her son’s academic situation is much improved.

Trotter questioned Newsome’s motive for moving, suggesting it was for athletic purposes. That is what the MHSAA concluded after an appeal hearing earlier this month, though that reason wasn’t included in the original findings.

Interim Nettleton Principal Dwight McComb testified, as did Nettleton High counselor Cassandra Lee. More on that and the rest of it in Thursday’s Daily Journal.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Jeremy Newsome Hearing – Day 2

  1. nettletonfan

    I am from Nettleton and for the last few years we have had Senior players transfer in before school started. There was never a question as to whether they were eligible or not. Maybe since Jeremy is one of the top ranked players in the state people arent liking the fact he might become a Tiger !!!
    I truly hope he is suited up this Saturday for the Jamboree !!!

  2. tcfan

    nettletonfan, I’m sorry but this is a whole more complicated matter than just a senior player coming in before school started. This kid has been manipulated by the system and has the IQ of a second grader. I think education is a lot more important than a basketball jamboree on Saturday, and I still don’t understand why they are letting Newsome miss so much school.

    I know that you are hoping he’ll come in because you’re a tiger, but it doesn’t matter, he probably should be able to play but it’s a little bit more complicated than “just another senior transferring to Nettleton”. Come’on.

  3. adamgore

    You can probably go ahead and forget him being suited up for Saturday as it appears the case is going to be stretched out as long as possible.

    What does examing medicine bottles have to do with this case anyway?

    The fact of the matter is this case is starting to look like the MSHAA is trying to save face for their half a** job on investigating the situation before hand and not lose this case. They have never been challenged before and in the back of their mind they know if they lose it will open the door for many more people to question their authority. Which, in my opinion, would not be a bad thing.

    On the other hand, you have to ask is this really about her son getting a better education vs getting to play basketball? It seems to me if that was the case – wouldn’t he be better served to sit in a classroom instead of a courtroom?

  4. adamgore

    Here is another question Brad:

    Who should be held accountable when kids get thrown out into the real world with little of the educational attention they needed to help them as adults?

    Of the topic I know, but will there be any fall out on school systems for their lack of meeting students needs?

  5. coach9

    There have been many cases where schools have been sued for failing to educate students. That’s why so many people meet and sign off on IEP’s. That’s part of the reason IEP’s came about. An IEP basically says that this student was identified with special needs, these are the accomodations that we think will help him succeed, these teachers, counselors, tutors and PARENTS have signed it for x number of years to acknowledge that they recognize these needs and describe some of the accomodations that they make for that student. There are many, many checks and rechecks in the educational system (both state and federal) that oversee, audit and govern the academic progress of special needs students. The MHSAA is not involved in that at all. The MHSAA made an eligibility ruling concerning a transfer. So far the testimony presented by the plaintiffs seems to be trying to make a case against a school district and maybe the state and federal depts. of education.

  6. coach9

    In case anyone is shocked that any student (forget sports for a minute) could be passed on to the 12th grade while reading on a 4th grade level, remember our national education policy is stated as “No Child Left Behind”.

  7. thespear

    Folks. you got this one all wrong. Just as the defense wants, everyone has shifted their thoughts to the issue of education quality. This case is not about education quality. the MHSAA ruled the way it did, not because of education quality, but because their investigation found a bona-fide move was not made. It is this court’s job to either back or reject the legitimacy of this investigation, not to rule on education quality.

  8. coach9

    I don’t think it is the defense that is moving the case that way. The defense (MHSAA, I think-I’m not even sure who is the plaintiff and defendant in this) made a motion at the beginning to stick to the facts of their investigation. From what we’ve heard the plaintiffs have offered no testimony about the move, when it was made, and where the actual residence is located. I’ll say again, there may be a case about education quality and there may be a case against a ruling by the MHSAA, but it is not both. I think everybody involved in this case has gotten a little confused about what they are suing for, what they are defending, and what it is they are supposed to decide.

  9. tcfan

    The defense wouldn’t have to shift the case that way if Traylor’s mom wouldn’t have sued the school district for “not giving her son an “adequate” education”. I think he should be able to play before that, but now there is a much BIGGER issue than athletics.

  10. nemississippi

    She worked at the school as a substitute teacher, yet she failed to see that Okolona wasn’t providing a quality education for her child until she went to transfer him to Nettleton his senior year? That’s so stupid to say in court under oath. Shows just how dumb some parents are about their children’s education and also that they are happy as long as things are going their way.

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