The word count on my notes from Wednesday’s hearing: 10,984.
The word count on my story going in Thursday’s paper: 884.
That’s the way it goes. Had to leave some stuff out, but I feel the story, which I just completed, touches on the most important parts, if not as deeply as I’d like. Here is an excerpt of the story that will appear in Thursday’s editions:
NEW ALBANY – For years, Lyndia Traylor didn’t know the depth of her son’s academic struggles. She now believes that’s because she was being intentionally misled by Okolona school officials.
Traylor, mother of basketball standout Jeremy Newsome, testified Wednesday in the hearing of a lawsuit she filed against the Mississippi High School Activities Association and the Okolona Municipal Separate School District. It was the hearing’s second day at the Union County Courthouse’s chancery court.
The hearing will resume Nov. 2 at the Lee County Justice Center – the day before Nettleton plays its first regular-season game.… Traylor testified that when her son was attending Okolona, school officials would repeatedly assure her throughout the school year that Newsome was doing fine in his classes. But then, at the end of each school year, “everything went haywire,” she said, and Newsome would barely pass his classes.
… Nettleton High counselor Cassandra Lee testified that Newsome’s academic records contained no documentation of Okolona making an effort to determine Newsome’s need for special help.
… The residency issue was addressed during Traylor’s testimony. She said she rented a trailer in Nettleton in July but could not, because of health issues, move in until about mid-August (she is separated from Larry Traylor, Newsome’s step-father). She said Newsome joined her at the Nettleton residence just before enrolling at Nettleton, which he did on Aug. 22.
… Traylor said she didn’t recognize major trouble with her son’s academics early in his schooling, even though Newsome failed first and fifth grades and was held back in sixth grade. She knew he had trouble in reading and math, but as she was working several jobs at once, much of Newsome’s help at home came from his six siblings, all of whom are older than him.
“I didn’t know about special ed or how to get him into this or that, and nobody contacted me about that,” Traylor said. “I feel if I would have recognized it, I would’ve had to talk to somebody.”