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Attorney says motion to stop subpoena should be denied

COVINGTON -- Attorney Stephanie Lindsey says the motion to quash a subpoena for the Newton Citizen to provide identifying information of individuals who negatively commented about the Alcovy High School principal on the Citizen website should be denied.

Web commenter claims harassment after ID revealed

By Michelle Floyd

Staff Reporter

<p>michelle.floyd@...>

CONYERS — Shannon Black, who claims she has made posts under the names of “KBeet” and “MsLoy” on the Newton Citizen website, has filed a report of harassment with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office.

Black, a Conyers resident, filed a report Thursday afternoon claiming she has been harassed via the phone and visits to her home since coming forward.

Black wrote two letters to the editor to the Newton Citizen in May claiming the identities, which have been named in a lawsuit filed by Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter. The lawsuit claims defamation and libel for negative comments made about Carpenter on the Citizen website.

According to the incident report, Black said that a black male who she has never seen before approached her while she was standing in her yard late one evening. She claims that he told her that if she kept writing untrue stories that his next visit would not be nice.

She told the RCSO officer that he was driving a dark older model Honda Accord, and that two other black males also were in the vehicle.

Black also reported that she has been getting phone calls from blocked numbers.

In an amendment to the lawsuit filed earlier this month, Carpenter alleges that Newton County Board of Education Vice Chair Jeff Meadors created the blog IDs “MsLoy” and “KBeet.” He denies the claims.

Lindsey submitted a brief in response to the motion to quash the subpoena in Newton County Superior Court on Tuesday.

"This court should conclude that while anonymous speech is constitutionally protected, it is not without limits," reads the response filed by Lindsey. "The interest and need to protect the sanctity of the educational process and community from detrimental actions and to protect oneself against defamatory conduct is not outweighed by the Newton Citizen's assertion of protected speech."

David Hudson, the attorney for the Georgia Press Association representing the Citizen, filed a motion in May to quash the subpoena that requests all information and documents sufficient to identify the names, addresses and telephone numbers associated with the commenters, as well as documents reproducing the texts of the comments and all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms related to the commenters.

Hudson's motion cites that the request for documents is invalid because of the qualified privilege for journalists against disclosing the information and that the anonymous commenters are afforded protection under the First Amendment.

In the response filed Tuesday, Principal LaQuanda Carpenter claims that those "assertions are misplaced and are not applicable." Carpenter says the information sought is relevant and necessary to identify posters of defamatory comments that have damaged her reputation in the community and exposed her to public hatred.

Additionally, the response states that "self-proclaimed blogger Shannon Black has disclosed her identity as 'KBeet' and 'MsLoy.' As a result of the disclosure, the need to keep her identity confidential is waived. Accordingly, this court should, at a minimum, issue an order directing the Newton Citizen to provide information sought on defendants KBeet and MsLoy."

In an amendment to the original suit against the commenters filed earlier this month, Carpenter claims that Newton County Board of Education Vice Chair Jeff Meadors created the blog IDs "MsLoy," "MissLoy" and "KBeet," among others, on the Citizen website to post defamatory comments, or provided false information to commenters to post on the site.

"Opinion statements are not shielded from defamation actions," the response reads. "Georgia appellate decisions addressing the specific First Amendment and defamation issues raised here, including the context of Internet 'speech,' are practically nonexistent."

Lindsey originally filed the lawsuit in April on behalf of Carpenter, claiming defamation and libel from commenters on the Citizen website. The suit originally named 11 "John Does" who commented on the Citizen website, and in late April, Lindsey filed a motion to dismiss three of the defendants.

A hearing on the motion to quash the subpoena requesting information from the Citizen is set for 9:30 a.m. June 19 in the Superior Court of Judge Eugene Benton.

Comments

ShannonBlack 2 years, 3 months ago

hey lady the IP means absolutely nothing for my names. I am the names I claimed and used IP addressed computers that don't even belong to me and one was rented - i never in all my life

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 3 months ago

listen lady you can try to pin something on him just because your whiney client doesn't like his article on hiring family and friends but your IP hunt is a b unch of BS i will be in court to offer direct evidence in person that i created those on computers that do not even belong to me so you can try to tie jesus and mary to it and as you know i did it - lord have mercy on me - SLB

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 3 months ago

Hey ma'm I did not waive my right to anything much less my right to safety. You don't deserve a single IP address of any computer I have used because your bullies will do to others what they have been doing to me and my child. Nuff said.

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CBSfinder 2 years, 3 months ago

Really I can't even begin to comment the way I want to on this what I want to say is REALLY. How many more times are we going to hear this person complain and say that these indentities arent ms black when she has already said that. Then we are still hearing Mr Meadors are the other ones well. Wild goose chase here we come. goodness.

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OnToday 2 years, 3 months ago

I smell desperation. This is beyond pathetic and needs to stop. Lindsey talks about the need to protect the sanctity of the educational process. Why do you think people are speaking out????

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amp72 2 years, 3 months ago

A judge can't quash this nonsense fast enough. I'm sorry Dr. Carpenter, but you don't get to decide what is and is not "Constitutionally protected speech." I see NO evidence of the comments hurting your reputation, given that your reputation suffered before anyone ever commented. You still have your job (incredibly) and you have not been denied a promotion or anything else due to a few comments on a website. You obviously have zero reading comprehension skills because the one you accuse of being Mr. Meadors has already identified herself. And you have obviously spent valuable time, energy, and county resources chasing ghosts and unicorns and leprechauns. Your brilliant attorney said it herself in the motion, "anonymous speech is constitutionally protected." End of story. Do your job and grow a thicker skin or get out of the public spotlight. We would all be better off.

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KimberlyD 2 years, 3 months ago

amp72, you are spot on. When taking a position she has chosen, she has put herself out in the spotlight. The teachers are other school employees have nowhere to complain since her husband is one of the head men at the BOC! The employees had nowhere else to go but to the papers to inform the community of the wrongs at A.H.S. I am so thankful I don't have children or nieces that go to this school and are in the middle of all this crap going on there. I pray that if and when this goes to court that the affected parties are found innocent and the principal is made to publicly apologize for the turmoil she has put them through. This is a witch hunt and the principal is "out to get" anyone and everyone that disagrees with her. I know the Meadors family personally and they are a fine upstanding family!! It upsets me most of all that people's 1st Amendment rights are being violated!! If anything, the principal should be a leader to her students and prove the naysayers wrong by bettering herself and finding a way to eliminate the issues she has been accused of. Or she could step down gracefully and put this nasty situation that has gotten way out of hand, to bed (once and for all).

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Satan69 2 years, 3 months ago

I am Satan and my name is lovely I think.  Sorry you do n ot agree but I tend to do bad things.  I created my blogger ID on an elected official's computer.  I also may have another one on a library pc.  Gotta go my horns are getting toasty.

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Satan69 2 years, 3 months ago

this just in from a closed meeting scoop the ACLU has been told about the GBI threats to 2 employees

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mrbill 2 years, 3 months ago

Are you telling us that the GBI is threatening people? Who are these employees you speak of? For whom do they work? Why has the ACLU been notified?

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HonestAbe 2 years, 3 months ago

What a shame to Newton County and the school system these people filing this lawsuit are, especially Lindsey. She is doing nothing except trying to get free press for her campaign for judge. I am beginning to believe that her and the Carpenters are trying to make a race issue out of it as well. How in the world can these people continue to work for the school system while this is going on? These people are certainly not acting professionally, as far as i am concerned.

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Shannonofmanycolors 2 years, 3 months ago

Dear judge Benton,

I hope you are reading this. David Hudson too. I have received threats of a criminal nature since I have associated with profiles that are mine. Please don't let anyone have any information on my profiles because I'm being threatened bodily harm.

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Personalsavior 2 years, 3 months ago

My real name is Sam.  Thats enough for now.  Ok so lets say I give you my IP.  Well how do you know who in my household did this.  Or who in my household who cleans for me did this?  Or who I shared my stuff with who did this?  Or if I did this?   Do you have some cool forensive fingerprint data time stamped on me?  Big Brother Steph everyday I see your sign for judge it says VOTE JULY 31.  Believe me I will.

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UGAFan 2 years, 3 months ago

I put an OTT sign in my front yard just to show my disdain for Lindsey....

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Iknowddatsright 2 years, 3 months ago

will you people who Mike P sent my way please write letters to the editor stating what you saw on the Floriday trip we cannot leave the man who came forward on a ledge here

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amp72 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree. ANYONE who has information on the Florida band trip now is the time to talk to the papers and Dr. Mathews. This is important. No one can retaliate if you are telling the truth. Step up people!

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OnToday 2 years, 3 months ago

Who is the man who came forward, and is his testimony not enough? If someone saw the alcohol being purchased with school funds on the Florida trip then what's the problem? Reminds me of why students didn't get punished at AHS when teachers reported problems. No one believes people who see things with their own two eyes so they do nothing.

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Satan69 2 years, 3 months ago

why did the DECA club sponsor have to ask to open a private bank account since the dollars in her club account could never be reconciled at Alcovy High

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Satan69 2 years, 3 months ago

how did the Alcovy Golf Club have a 2,000 dollar balance at the start of the year when there was no fundraising thanks Mike P

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CLM72 2 years, 3 months ago

"defamatory comments that have damaged her reputation in the community and exposed her to public hatred.".......seems to me that this lawsuit and all of its amendments, responses, and related publicity have done more reputation damage than any anonymous online comments.

Here is a crazy thought - could this case (and its publicity) really be a ploy, distraction, or diversion from some other ridiculousness that could be lurking just around the corner?

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AWOL 2 years, 3 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. Maybe she thought she was about to get fired so she started this whole thing. Now, if the board lets her go, she can try to claim she is being fired because of what others wrote in the paper. I wonder if the person who hired her is regretting that decision now? Does anyone know who hired her?

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John 2 years, 3 months ago

Me thinks there are some people that could really benefit from reading & understanding the book written by Dale Carnegie "How to Win Friends & Influence People". One thing this book relates is one certainly will have much more success in life/career/family by not drawing a line in sand, like filing a lawsuit.

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MissLoy 2 years, 3 months ago

Turner was in our neighborhood trying to campaign? HAHAHAH Ain't votin for you no day no way no how bud. We all know what you do behind the scenes your 15 years of fame are UP. You are too wound up with these lawsuit people

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HonestAbe 2 years, 3 months ago

I go on vacation for a week and come home to read all this junk. A Newton County high school principle suing a Newton County School Board member? A Lawyer who wants to be a judge, whose job would be to potect what is in the constitution, talking all this nonsense about how the constitution doesn't come into play with this case? I am ASHAMED to live in Newton County. WE DESERVE BETTER. This is not just a suit against Mr Meadors but is a suit against everyone who voted to put him into office. Any school system that would condone this type behavior out of the Carpenters is not much of a school system, I believe they are BAD people who put themselves over the concerns of anyone else. The judge needs to get this case on the move before they and Lindsey decides to sue everyone in Newton County. I don't know what kind of job the Carpenters do in the school system, but for sure they are poor representives of the Newton County School system and Newton County property taxpayers simpley by their actions here. It is time they move on in hopes of finding somewhere they maybe wanted.

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UGAFan 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank goodness my kids NEVER stepped foot into a Newton County School....Thank you home school and private schools!

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Billy 2 years, 3 months ago

LOL, I don't have kids. If I did, they would be home-schooled, or go to that new Christian school on 142 near the old WalMart--if I had to work three jobs to make that happen. You can't blame the lawyer; their price in life is low. They'll take any case to rake in the money—very, very few exceptions to that rule. Taking this case alone should render this atty a loser in the November election, but then PBO is polling in the high 40s, so there's some ignorant and deceived dullards among us, no doubt about that. Most are products of the education system in question, so there’s no shock there, esp you see what kind of people we have in charge; blowhards with legal representation that could not care less about children or setting an example, only about “respect,” as if they were a member of the mafia. As for Meadors and the Posters/Bloggers, don't sweat one drop about this completely meritless lawsuit. All judges are secret ACLU admirers, so they're not going to let this joke get away with anything except paying court costs. As I said, DON'T WORRY. You reap what you sow, so Ms principal and her hubby will probably be charged with some crime somewhere in the future. Check out US Reps Rangel and Waters, and you'll understand my point. Loudmouths tend to be hypocrites; preaching against something while as the same time are 100 times more guilty of the same exact misdeed than anyone they are pointing their finger at. Enjoy the spotlight while you can, atty and principal. You set a trap for innocent truth tellers, but instead in time will fall into it yourself. This is located in the first or second chapter of proverbs, in any of you readers want to check it out...

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UGAFan 2 years, 3 months ago

Please note this election is July 31!!!!!!

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OnToday 2 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if three black thugs will show up in the judge's yard one night threatening him. This is shameful and embarrassing for the county. How are kids going to feel going back to this school in the fall knowing all of this?

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Crazyhooker99 2 years, 3 months ago

CLM72 to be perfectly honest with u as this case comes nearer I'm afrai of what may transpire. Poor Ms black came forward and now they are coming after her I fear for her safety . This is by far over the top!!!!!!

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Pam_Carter 2 years, 3 months ago

Despite the fact that I am an outsider to this litigious embarrassment in Newton County – I am not a resident, nor do I have any affiliation with the district – I feel that I need to speak up in defense of all of the hardworking educators who have gracefully accepted a proverbial black eye on their profession due to the behaviors of a few.

Let me begin by stating the obvious. Well-trained individuals who enter the realm of school leadership should be well aware of the fact that both statistically and realistically they can’t please everyone. Anyone who believes otherwise is either delusional or overmedicated. And, as adults and professionals, they should be prepared to accept criticism and complaint – whether or not it is well-founded – with dignity and a healthy respect for the opinions of others.

As a twenty-six year veteran of public education, I have had the good fortune of working under and with a number of quality leadership professionals. And, despite their high level of morality and integrity, at some point in their careers every single one of them became under fire by some parent or community member who simply didn’t agree with a policy or decision. Every time there were negative comments lodged publicly -- whether it was at the country club, in the grocery line, or during a Sunday school class – but never do I recall any lawsuits filed or newspaper reports posted. Why? Because everyone knew through the reputations of these professionals that they were honorable individuals and that they didn’t need to defend themselves from the occasional spoiled sport or sore loser.

So, it would appear that there is a problem with the leadership at Alcovy High School. I would have never thought so had I simply run across a series of spiteful blog posts, but when a principal feels that she needs to hire a high-profile attorney to defend her reputation, there are some serious issues beyond the existence of cranky individuals who didn’t get their way. This principal has failed at fostering an honorable reputation within the community, because if she had, none of this would have ever been newsworthy.

The really sad part in all of this is that the hardworking educational professionals of Newton County are the collateral damage. All of the other teachers, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and support staff are certainly walking around with their heads down in shame, hoping that no one will mention the humiliating news reports or look critically at them for being a part of an organization that has now been labeled hostile and disorderly.

I do have faith that over time all of this will be forgotten and that everyone can move on with their mission of educating children. Until then, I do hope that those responsible for blackening the eyes of every employee in the school system will have the decency to apologize. Of course, there is always the chance that counsel will advise against it.

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mrbill 2 years, 3 months ago

Thank you for so eloquently stating the obvious.

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Billy 2 years, 3 months ago

Pam, most public school teachers and admins are not glowing examples of admiration. I’m glad you have an insulated pool of atypical individuals surrounding you, but I myself attended public school, in Morrow, Ga in the 70s, and I can tell you that most teachers there could not care less about education or setting examples. Jonesboro was a diploma mill, and was even worse. Why do you think so many parents home-school their children or send them to private schools? It’s not because of bad press or unfair views of public schools and the teachers who comprise them, I can tell you that. I'm glad you have such a high opinion of yourself and your profession. However, speaking on behalf of vast multitudes on the other side of the argument, either you have a special circumstance where you serve, or you’re yet another apologist of a failed system. One has to question your motives or judgment since you hold this completely unsupported position. People, you simply cannot go wrong sending your children to private schools. People with an infallible view of themselves and their wonderful public schools simply cannot be trusted for advice on this subject. Regarding the subject above, with a principal so out of their element, they shouldn't be trusted with being a groundskeeper at a school, much, much less in position of authority over children, is NOT an isolated case. To one degree or another, this problem is an ongoing one, in every public school, by the vast majority of people in public education. Ever hear of the massive cheating scandal east of here, in a big city that hopefully some of you that keep up with current events already know about? You can sell the ignorant on public schools, but not people with any common sense, values, and grasp of recent history of what has happened there since the early 60s. They’re all cesspools of drugs, violence, and educators that are there to collect pay and pensions, not quality people with the children’s best interests at heart. Anyone who believes otherwise is systematically dishonest or utterly deceived....

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mrbill 2 years, 3 months ago

I am sorry about your public school experience. However, a single experience in the backwoods of Georgia, in the seventies, hardly makes you the self proclaimed expert. Teaching, for most educators, is a calling. There are far better ways to earn a paycheck. Most educators dream of being a positive influence for the young people they teach. They want their students to become critical thinkers who question the veracity of what read and hear. They want them to be curious about the world and all that entails. They want students who respect and deserve to be respected. They want the support of their administration, parents, and community to help them achieve their goals. Unfortunately, as in all occupations, there are some bad apples who give those who truly care a bad name. I myself have seen excellent administrators and teachers, but I have also been witness to the effects of mediocre or poor administrators and teachers. It is difficult to undo the damage done by ineffective administrators and teachers, but it can be done when dealt with in a timely manner. The longer a wound is left to fester, the less likely it is to heal without a scar.

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Pam_Carter 2 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Billy:

I certainly respect your opinions and I am very sorry that life has dealt you a hand that has left you bitter and with such a negative view of public education. I feel sure that there are many schools in your district that provide a good education to your community’s children and I also suspect that most of the teachers working in these schools aren’t there for the excellent salaries and gourmet meals. Like I have done for over a quarter of a century, these professionals embrace the challenge to educate whomever enters their classrooms, because they believe as I do – that a free public education is our best defense against illiteracy and the propagation of a welfare state.

That being said, I completely support one’s right to home school or pay for private school. I believe that in a democracy that those who have the means to choose to educate their children elsewhere should be able to exercise that right. However, for more reasons than we have time or space to address here, many parents simply can’t afford other options. That is where we come in – and that is why teachers need the support of strong leadership and well-functioning school boards.

Based on all that I have read regarding the “drama” in your public schools, I really can’t blame you for your negativity, disillusionment, or paranoia. Best wishes to you.

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CLM72 2 years, 3 months ago

Billy, you have stated you have no children, and that causes me to wonder how much real interaction you have had with the public schools beyond your own education in Clayton County in the 70's and what you have read in the paper. I have taught in the public schools for 15 years; I have two children who have gone through the public schools; I have experienced good and terrible teachers and administrations, both as an employee and parent. By and large, the good outweighs the bad...and while I certainly can understand some folks' reasoning for choosing private schools or homeschooling, those choices come with equally concerning side-effects which are totally different from the public schools. There are obvious issues with the administration at Alcovy (and Newton County Schools, in general); yet, this is not the case everywhere. Thankfully, I teach in a system with strong academics, arts, and leadership - which is in stark contrast to your analogy comparing the schools to "cesspools of drugs, violence, and educators that are there to collect pay and pensions, not quality people with the children’s best interests at heart."........Public schools are not so terrible as you believe...

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Frustrated 2 years, 3 months ago

I have no children in school and am not a teacher or educator but I do know this...employees follow the example of their leaders. If the leaders set a good example and are involved and interested in what is going on in their place of business or school, then the employees will follow that example. The employer has to work WITH his employees not against them. From what I have read this is not the case with Alcovy. There is more going on than a few disgruntled employees and that has become clear. I only wish this had not gone this far and could have been solved without all the press and law suits. I am like a lot of other people following this and wonder exactly where the problem lies. As the old saying goes..it will all come out with the wash.

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Iknowddatsright 2 years, 3 months ago

Newton Peeps wouldnt you love to see Judge Judy hear this case?  LC would have a new boo hiney hole - she would have 2.

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Satan69 2 years, 3 months ago

This is public record at Ga Professional Standards Commission site.  Look who ran Lead Learners LLC with D. Carpenter and look who is on suspension? Go search first and last name of former NHS leader at http://www.gapsc.com/Certification/Lookup/look_up.aspx   Most Recent Ethics Actions:  Suspension

Effective date: 06/27/2011    Ending date: 08/26/2011

Note: Contact the Ethics Division of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission if you need additional information Mr.  Roderick  Donnel  Sams  Certification ID:  252145 Mr.  Roderick  Donnel  Sams  Certification ID:  252145

Exceptional Child Course:  Yes

Most Recent Ethics Actions:  Suspension

Effective date: 06/27/2011    Ending date: 08/26/2011

Note: Contact the Ethics Division of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission if you need additional information.

Exceptional Child Course:  Yes

Most Recent Ethics Actions:  Suspension

Effective date: 06/27/2011    Ending date: 08/26/2011

Note: Contact the Ethics Division of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission if you need additional information.

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