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.