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.
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).
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.
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.
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.