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Principal's attorney requests three defendants be dismissed from suit

COVINGTON -- Three of 11 defendants originally named in a lawsuit for commenting on the Newton Citizen website about Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter were asked to be dismissed.

On April 27, Stephanie Lindsey, an attorney representing Carpenter, filed a motion to dismiss "John Doe 5 aka GwinnettTransplant" from the suit filed earlier this month. On Thursday, Lindsey filed a motion to dismiss fellow defendants spdracer90 and avidreader, according to documents filed in Newton County Superior Court.

As of press time Friday, Lindsey did not return a call seeking comment as to why the motions were filed.

The motion to dismiss GwinnettTransplant was filed one day after Carpenter received a phone call from Alcovy High teacher, Michelle Finley, who admitted to writing a comment as GwinnettTransplant, according to Newton County School System documents obtained Friday by The Citizen.

In an April 26 email to NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews and Nyree Sanders, director of Human Resources at NCSS, Carpenter wrote that Finley called her earlier in the night.

"Ms. Finley stated that she wanted to apologize for writing a blog under the tagline 'GwinnettTransplant' in the Newton Citizen. Ms. Finely was very apologetic, she stated that she would write a letter to the newspaper and to my attorney apologizing for the comment," Carpenter wrote in the e-mail. "I informed Ms. Finley that this is a legal matter and that I cannot discuss this with her, and that I appreciated her call."

In her e-mail, Carpenter repeated the comment from GwinnettTransplant that included, "This entire school system is a JOKE! AHS is a complete free for all! I know plenty of people who work there and they are tired of the lack of leadership. What has to happen for the BOE to realize Dr. Carpenter is NOT the answer!"

Although GwinnettTransplant was named as a defendant in the original suit, that specific comment was not cited among the comments from other defendants named.

On April 27, the day after the phone call, Sanders wrote an e-mail to Mathews and copied to school board attorney Kent Campbell recommending that Finley be removed from Alcovy High School "at this time," according to documents provided by NCSS.

"She was actually reprimanded earlier this year for an outburst and served a suspension without pay for unprofessional conduct," Sanders wrote in the email.

That day, Mathews informed Finley via a hand-delivered letter that she was being placed on administrative leave with pay pending further investigation due to her "unprofessional conduct directed" at Carpenter. Finley was instructed to discontinue any contact with AHS students and staff in her role as teacher until NCSS determined her status, according to documents provided by NCSS.

On Thursday, Mathews wrote an email to Carpenter and copied it to Campbell informing them that he left a voice message for Finley indicating that she should return to work Friday.

"I also stated that I look forward to a positive working relationship between (Carpenter) and her and that I expect professional conduct always," Mathews wrote in the email.

When asked about any policies prohibiting such behavior and why NCSS responded since the lawsuit was brought forth by Carpenter and not NCSS, Mathews said he could not comment on a particular personnel matter.

"I can say that I expect our employees to engage in highly professional conduct towards each other at all times exemplifying honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. That's true for teachers, support staff, and administrators," Mathews added. "We have complaint procedures in Board policy that allows one to come forward with matters of concern and I expect our employees to use it when applicable."

When contacted Friday via email by The Citizen, Finley replied that her attorney advised her not to speak on the situation.

The Newton Citizen was subpoenaed for all information and documents sufficient to identify the names, addresses and telephone numbers associated with those named in the lawsuit, as well as documents reproducing the texts of the comments from Jan. 1, 2011, to present and all server logs, IP address logs, account information, account access records and application or registration forms related to those named.

However, David Hudson, the attorney for the Georgia Press Association, filed a motion Tuesday to quash the subpoena, citing that the request for documents is invalid because of the qualified privilege for journalists against disclosing the information.

Additionally, he argues that the comments cited in the lawsuit are writers' opinions or criticisms of Carpenter and privileged under the First Amendment.

The hearing on the motion to quash the subpoena is set for June 14 in Newton County Superior Court.

Comments

amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

Good luck getting me to identify myself! Not because I am afraid of a lawsuit or anything but because I will NOT cave to bullying and scare tactics. In fact, that only makes me more resolute. So go ahead and proceed with your little charade Dr. Carpenter because I'm not going anywhere and if you somehow do prevail (which you won't) then I will sue you right back. To the rest of you "defendans," stand your ground!

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HonestAbe 2 years, 7 months ago

When i read this i think of 2 words- witch hunt- To use the court system in this manner is unexcuseable, Not knowing Mrs Finley i can judge by her acttions that she is a good teacher and person that has deep concerns for Alcovy High and expressed these concerns in the only way she felt she could. I believe she came forward because she knows how stupid this case is and for sure should not be in our court system. I just hope she doesn't have to work in constant fear from now on. I do believe one thing the plaintiff and her lawyer mrs lindsey has said. This is not about money, I believe this is about identification, fear,and scare tatics to stop negative responses of free speech about the school system. I do not believe Mrs Carpenter is working alone, No busisness or school system can prosper in the long term on fear. It would be very smart for everyone in the school system and school board to read and in detail Mr Meadors last article in this paper. It hits the nail on the head. There is no room in a school system for ego,s. The most important people you have in business, to enhance moral is the front line supervisors. The equivelant in a school system is the Principal and Teachers. They have to work for the same common goal. To be a school of excellance and give the children the best education possible.

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ctownslimm 2 years, 7 months ago

I think of two different words. "Incompetent Principal". No leader should ever blame their subordinates. A fair leader handles discipline privately and always understands that any problem in their command is their responsibility. The leader is always responsible. Therefore Cold-blooded Carpenter is not a principal. That is some cold-blooded stuff to do to a teacher trying to make ends meet. Carpenter will never have my respect after this unless she enlisted in the Marines and died for her country or something. Short of that, she is a waste of air.

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Shannonofmanycolors 2 years, 7 months ago

This principal is a complete failure.  This attorney won't see a judgeship.  Fools and bad leaders point fingers in certain communities.  You have  both committed slander and there are witnesses.

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Grandcanyon 2 years, 7 months ago

What a horrible judge this lawyer would make.  Trashing elected officials all over town.  They are all on to you Lindsey.  I told.  And district 4 bd seat needs cleaning out.

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Satan69 2 years, 7 months ago

The Nyree woman in this article was hired by D. Carpenter out of Clayton.  They are in control of human resources in the largest employer in Newton County.  A husband and a friend from Clayton so Alcovy employees have zero help as I told the Atlanta media.  By the time teacher friends get back to the Alcovy parking lot from HR he has already broken confidence and told his wife enought thath she carries a grudge and launches her attack to ship them out - personal trash and damaging to a school.

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Personalsavior 2 years, 7 months ago

The face of shame and indignation in our county.

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Personalsavior 2 years, 7 months ago

This woman continues to promote violations of district electronic device policy.

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Calisweetheart 2 years, 7 months ago

Pure trash.  This school has gone to hell.  Paint all over the building Friday.  Kids cussing at teachers and screaming and LC does nothing.  Just as ghetto as it gets but look at the role model - a suer.

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Satan69 2 years, 7 months ago

Dis be prayer momma I want y'all to come up in heah and help Quan find a new job.

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Frustrated 2 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like Carpenter is only using this lawsuit to find out who has been posting things about her. Telling them they will dismiss them from the lawsuit and then reporting them to HR to get them fired or suspended. I can think of only one word to describe that behavior. And Mrs Carpenter, Im NOT a school employee so dont expect a call from me.

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

I would bet good money she found out who the other two are by trolling through emails. She has done this in the past. Employees at Alcovy know she snoops on emails and has "moles" in the building who report back to her with names and what they are saying in the halls and outside of school. It's a terrible environment and is the prime reason no one comes to her with complaints or problems. How can you speak to someone or have an open, honest dialogue when you can't trust that person? Add to that the fact that her husband and friends control your fate and there you go -people resort to back channels and anonymous posts on a website. It's a toxic situation and Dr. Mathews should be ashamed for being a party to it. If he is waiting for them to leave town then he is being grossly negligent and it will come back to haunt him.

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Kodaanddylansmom 2 years, 7 months ago

This is how trash behaves.  Filthy to have this in our news when Baxter and others are looking.  Shame  on her  and her husband and this lawyer who I have watched and cant argue her way out of a sack.  Her lawyer accuses others of not caring about the school system in the other paper.  You all are the ones brining shame to our kids.  That high school is horribly unsafe.  My kid won't go to the lunchroom or down some halls and never to a bathroom.  People should speak out you idiots.  I am ashamed of the administration that keeps here here and the school board for allowing this to fester.

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Grandcanyon 2 years, 7 months ago

I want to know more about the bd member who called those cnetral office people with GBI threats. . That could get someone in criminal trouble.

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

One thing (among many) the Carpenters misjudged is the fact that this community supports its hard-working teachers. They do NOT support the actions of vindictive, thin-skinned, overpaid and ineffective administrators who put themselves and their careers before students. You can sue me, you can threaten me, you can try to do whatever you want but I will not rest until the truth comes out about these people and their actions over the past three years. Dr. Mathews and others continue to circle the wagons but it only intensifies the problem. Other counties are talking about this (even some outside the state of GA) and other media outlets have contacted current and former teachers, staff, and even administrators. It's time for the school board as a whole to develop a spine and address this problem. This goes far beyond a principal and some anonymous comments on a website. This is a systemic problem in the NCSS and Alcovy is the prime offender.

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

Why is it that Mathews can suspend Finley and demand/expect professional conduct yet he looks the other way when his principal exhibits unprofessional conduct? At the very least Carpenter should be suspended while he does his due diligence and investigates the dozens of complaints people are beginning to come forward with. Soon it will be hundreds.

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HonestAbe 2 years, 7 months ago

I can't read it because the Citizen is the only paper i buy and the C News charge you to read it on their website. Can you please give us a summary of what the letter says? I hope she sent the same letter to this paper and it will be printed here. Thank you

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

She identified herself as two of the people commenting and said she withdrew her child from NCSS last year. She said she will be the voice of NCSS employees who have been and are being attacked by the husband-wife team in charge of the school and HR. She said the problem is not anonymous comments but the leadership. And she's right.

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HonestAbe 2 years, 7 months ago

Great for her. Thanks for the info. We need to keep the pressure on for free speech so her efforts won't be wasted.

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

I can respect what Ms. Black did by writing that letter and why she did it but I really wish people would stop coming forward. It just empowers the principal and her attorney. It gives legitimacy to their case and makes the bully feel he/she is winning. Reveal your identities later. This is not the time. The community is getting the message about what is going on in our schools and central office. Wait until this silly lawsuit is quashed and then come forward.

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Satan69 2 years, 7 months ago

Amp you are so right I do think in all fairness that she should be just until all of this is resolved. You are correct about all the complaints and the thing is this was happening before the law suit came out so this is not retaliation by any means. If teachers, and other people were upset before the law suit came out then there is a definite problem that needs to be looked at, and it needs to be.

On another note I have got to give props to the woman who came forward and said hey this is me and I'm standing up for free speech you go girl that's awesome.

Do one thing though stand your ground honey.

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HonestAbe 2 years, 7 months ago

You see everyone who does not want the citizens to exercise their free speech is also looking at this. Not just in the school system. The best thing that could happen would be to win this in court, but i don't think the plaintiffs have the guts to proceed much longer with this. The good ole boys in our closed county government would like nothing more than for Mrs Carpenter to win this suit. She will have great pressure from many of our elected officials to run this as long as possible in attempts to scare us all from exercising our freedom of speech. We have done nothing wrong or unlawful soi we need to stand our ground. I'll say it again and DARE anyone to sue me- She is not at this alone. I would not be surprised but that MANY, MANY in the school system are behind this including at least 2 on the school board who have taken the most head in postings the last few weeks and months including about the trip to Washington DC. They are using their power to scare us off. I APPROVE THIS POSTING

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Tatersalad 2 years, 7 months ago

Amp I think we need someone who isn't afraid to speak out on what's going on and wants to be the voice. That is awesome. She is basically telling everyone here I am this is what I think. Someone like this can help do some good.

You have some guts Ms Black would you please consider coming to the BOE meeting Tuesday night?

I think that all newton county parents should attend and voice there concerns

Thank you concerned parent and teacher

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

No, I agree. Like I said above, I can respect her decision to come forward. The problem is, it's a bit different for current or even former employees. It's one thing for a parent or student to do it but employees have other concerns (as we found out recently when one was suspended and potentially terminated). I just fear that the more people who come forward the more the bully wins and I don't want to see that. Perhaps after the suit is quashed in June people can speak up but for right now the rest of us should hold our ground and fight this. And thank The Citizen and its attorney for doing the same.

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Tatersalad 2 years, 7 months ago

Honest Abe go on fb and go under Covington news like the page and then find the carpenter article with the most comments its there or go to ms blacks page it is there to her name is Shannon black go look and check it out it rocks. She has some guys boy.

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Funbags78 2 years, 7 months ago

This is my opinion and i don't care if LaQuanda sues me.  This has been in the making a sleeping giant now awakened with it's roots in 2008 to today.  There was no way the constant battering of employees and missing reprimands in their files would not eventually come out.  IF she really wants the witnesses from FL trip to come forward they will as well as the club sponsors.

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Satan69 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree with amp but I also think that if you have somebody who wants to stand up for free speech let them, given the fact that she was not employed by the school system I think it's awesome. However what I think is also cool is that she is willing to keep everything she knows quiet all her. Sources and she isn't going to back down even if she gets subpoenaed that to me is awesome. I do agree the employees and others should keep quiet though that is true. I hope that it is quashed in all honesty I see this as a complete scare tactic and nothing else. So let's see what happenes I say thank you to mrs black and everyone else. Let's all stand our ground together. What do you say amp and honest abe.

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KimberlyD 2 years, 7 months ago

I think it's a crying shame that we are unable to speak freely for fear of being sued. I don't care whether she sues me or not. My child would not attend AHS under any circumstances. I know crap goes on at any school but she doesn't have a handle on AHS at all. Now a teacher is on administrative leave for acting on a first amendment right!! What is this teaching our children that they are lastly concerned about....

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

And the thing is the school system will say, "Well, the teacher violated protocol and didn't follow the proper procedures for airing complaints so we had a legitimate reason for the discipline." Meanwhile NCSS violates its own protocols by having a husband in charge of HR and the wife in charge of a high school, among other things. And meanwhile kids at AHS get away with anything you can name.

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Frustrated 2 years, 7 months ago

it teaches the children not to admit anything. Instead of learning why it was wrong and working toward correcting the problem, you get punished for owning up.

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Jugsapoppin 2 years, 7 months ago

I just want to inform everybody that I spoke to ms black and she is the nicest person. Very informative but she is so sweet. I have heard through the grape vine that she is being harassed now. She said it is ok though no need to worry. If you all have any questions about anything feel free to call her. She will talk to you about anything.

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HonestAbe 2 years, 7 months ago

I bought my sign paper today to make my sign to hold up near the court house the day of the hearing. Protect Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the press. Do anyone know where you go in Covington to get a permit to demostrate and how close to the court house i can legally get with my sign?. Also how close to the board of Education?

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 7 months ago

I have a question can I sue now that I'm being harassed for coming forward? No worries here I will stand my ground I don't care. And for the lovely comment I got about see you in court. Absolutely I will be there with bells on with or with out anyone else. I love being harassed it makes me all the more determined to go after something. oh can't forget my lipstick either.

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

That's a sad commentary on where we are in this county when people sue alleging harassment, and then turn around and harass people. I'm sorry to hear that Shannon, but not surprised. Keep up the fight!

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HonestAbe 2 years, 7 months ago

Mrs Black sometimes the truth hurts and mrs Carpenter and Mrs Lindsey and probably some of the boe and school admin are hurting real bad right now. If they contacted you (a defendant) they have really showed their intelligence (or lack thereof) if you have proof that they said what they did you should hold it as evidence in court. I am proud of you sticking to your guns as i am sure others are. There is no way they can win this case even iif it has to go to a jury- which i think it won't. We are on your side

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Frustrated 2 years, 7 months ago

Mrs Black I have one word for you...DOCUMENT. Make notes, keep recordings whatever you need to do to prove their harassment. Just know we are behind you.

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

I would still like to know the circumstances behind these other people who were dismissed and how they were identified, be it voluntary or not.

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 7 months ago

I thank everybody and I will stand my ground. No worries people they won't scare me away that easily. Sometimes it is funny that others do people's dirty work it will be funny to see it go no where however if it does I'm here to speak about it for it whatever it takes to make this right. I will tell you I don't back down easy. As a matter of fact I love a good challenge. My main focus is getting NCSS straight and out of this mess and The teachers and others shouldn't be afraid to speak their mind. That is so ridiculous. No worries people we will get it straight let's all work together.

Thanks again Shannon

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 7 months ago

I would like to know that myself Amp?

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

Is anyone attending the BOE meeting tonight (Tues May 8)? I can't make it unfortunately but I would love to see what happens, if anything.

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Grandcanyon 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure I was going to try and go!!! I can let you know what happens tonight I think I shall attend.

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Grandcanyon 2 years, 7 months ago

We are so proud of Mrs. Black.  Thank you for standing up for teachers and employees. 

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Personalsavior 2 years, 7 months ago

Mrs. Black I have given several employees your phone number who know facts about the budget stuff.

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Personalsavior 2 years, 7 months ago

I wish Ms Black would attend the BOE meeting tonight so I could meet her. I think I will call her and ask her to come. What do you all think should I?

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Wildwomanoftigertown 2 years, 7 months ago

Ms. Black there are a lot of us employees who have clubs since 2009 who will come to you when the time is needed.  We are monitoring all of the updates on this situation and have the number from your editor letter.

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Kodaanddylansmom 2 years, 7 months ago

We would like to know more about why Dr. Sams left the system in the middle of the year.  They were from the same hometown open the records and tell us.  Is this larger than we know this inner circle?  Is Clements Middle part of this too?

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Littlemissmuffett 2 years, 7 months ago

well we are breathing a sigh of releif in social circle city  - the problem guy is not in the final three - thank goodness

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 7 months ago

I am sitting in the meeting on my I phone folks.  This is really interesting.  Some interesting changes coming.  Check the news sites later tonite.

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Blueeyeddevil 2 years, 7 months ago

Wow you guys some good stuff will be out after this meeting.  Check the papers you will be happy.

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amp72 2 years, 7 months ago

All I see in the papers today is a statement from Dr. Mathews and the transfer of an assistant principal to an elementary school. Did I miss something? Or did the papers miss something?

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Blueeyeddevil 2 years, 7 months ago

Thank you Ms. Black for doing what your doing I think that you are a great person for standing up for teachers and employees it shows that their are still good people in the world.

Keep up the good work and you have a bunch of people behind you.

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ShannonBlack 2 years, 7 months ago

Good afternoon newton citizens. This is Shannon aka KBeet aka MsLoy with your daily update. My letter to the editor will be out Friday in the newton citizen. Please add to your fb as a link and let's get this free speech viral.

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Crazyhooker99 2 years, 7 months ago

This wholething is out if control!!! It is causing so much chaos and for no reason. Free speech is free speech leave it alone and don't mess with amendment rights cause you will lose.

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