Newsome Hearing Update – Take 4

A short recess. So far, exhibits of Newsome’s academic records have been submitted as evidence. Jim Waide, who represents Newsome’s mother, Lyndia Traylor, in the lawsuit, questioned Nettleton special education director Dr. Debra Calvert for about 45 minutes. Defense will cross-examine her in a moment.

Calvert said Newsome was identified in first grade (1995) as a student in need of special academic assistance, per state and federal laws. She said records show that he failed first grade, fourth grade and fifth grade, and yet was transferred to the next grade each time. Newsome apparently spent two years in sixth grade.

Calvert also said she was suspicious of the integrity of the grades Newsome received. For example, in seventh grade, she noted that in his science class, Newsome made a 65 first semester, a 71 second semester, and a 70 for the year, barely passing him. She didn’t understand the math on that one.

Calvert also said Newsome is at a second-grade learning level “across the board,” and therefore questioned how he could have passed a state biology exam; he has failed the English exam five times and has never taken the algebra exam. In fact, he never took algebra at Okolona, but he took geometry in summer school (cart before the horse?).

So, Calvert suspects some shenanigans were taking place. She said when she first viewed his academic record – which she said was incomplete, because it did not include a Teacher Support Team file – she cried.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Newsome Hearing Update – Take 4

  1. tcfan

    I can see this one is starting to get dirty. I’m to the point with this summary that this issue should’ve been pointed out ten years ago rather than “when he decided to transfer schools to play basketball”. If it’s about academics, then why are people like me and you observing this topic? If you look at the credidation levels, I heard that Nettleton is barely above Okolona. I feel sorry for Newsome, but his mother should’ve brought forth these grades a long time ago and asked for an explanation, not now when he’s fighting to play basketball. I blame Okolona for academic privileges, but I also blame Newsome’s mother for not pointing them out to the school district. If she cared about her son, she would’ve realized that her son was getting privileges and asked to be treated the same. To use that in her case, in my opinion, hurts her credibility as much as Okolonas.

  2. An excellent point. I’m going to ask Jim Waide about that.

  3. adamgore

    Really good point made.

    Kind of brings back memories of the whole Holly Springs vs Lanier “Dream Game” mess when the Super stood up for education over athletics… You see where she ended up at the end of the school year – out of a job!

    I will say just hearing the mud slinging going on before it went to court – it’s already been dirty, but is about to hit an all-time low soon… It is starting to look like a no win situation no matter if Newsome gets to play or not…

    The question that comes to my mind is – what is the MHSAA going to do to “get back” at Nettleton if Newsome is cleared to play… Or will they honor the ruling since they feel as if they are above the law?

  4. tcfan

    I remember the days of the superintendant coming out and saying that they would have to miss so much school but I really thought that it wouldn’t interfere that bad. And to the main point, the reason she got the boot was due to one thing: M-O-N-E-Y! Think about the money the “Dream Game” would’ve created, to the MHSAA and the other schools.

    Also, the best assumption I could see the MHSAA doing to get back at Nettleton is appeal when (if) Newsome is cleared to play and if they when the appeal than take away all the wins that Newsome played in.

    What would be the ‘ideal’ situation in all of this? In my opinion, the MHSAA should allow for Newsome to play, Okolona should be put on some kind of academic probation (not forced to give Newsome’s mother any money), and there should be some kind of research into how they should take care of Newsome’s academic situation.

    The bad part about the Okolona school district is Newsome and Nettleton has documentation that Okolona had. The bad part about Newsome’s mother is Okolona has documentation of report cards explaining Newsome’s grades that were sent to her. If she had a complaint and was so torn up about this, why didn’t she say anything? Hmmm?

    I hope a lesson is learned. Newsome and his mother have a perfect case in the MHSAA for not giving Newsome the release to play basketball. There is nothing to say that Newsome didn’t make (a non-sense way of putting it) a “bona-fide move”. His parents divorced and he moved to a place where his some of his family lived.

    THE BAD PART: Newsome and his mother have a horrible case that is just used as bait to get the MHSAA to cave in in the Okolona School Distrcit suit. This just shows that privileges go on early with athletes, not just when they’re in high school. I think the MHSAA was correct in trying to get this suit irrelevant to their case on the grounds of it has nothing to do on their ruling of a “bona-fide move”. I have no relation or any connections in Okolona or Nettleton, so from an outside view, this stuff just makes me sick to my stomach on both sides of the case.

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