COVINGTON -- School board Vice Chair Jeff Meadors and his attorney said they have yet to see a dismissal to be filed by the Alcovy High School principal on her pending lawsuit, but they feel it will be vindication for him.
In a response to the Citizen on Friday, Meadors' attorney Jeff Foster said that he and his client, who won't comment on pending litigation, have been advised that the dismissal will be filed. On Tuesday, Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter said she decided to withdraw her civil defamation suit against Meadors, which was originally filed in April naming 11 "John Does" who commented about Carpenter on the Newton Citizen website. She later dismissed the 11 and alleged that Meadors made comments on the Citizen website under pseudonyms or gave information obtained through his capacity as a board member to others who made the comments.
"While we evaluate our future options with respect to this case, Jeff Meadors is excited to see an end to this litigation, so that once again the focus of the Newton County Board of Education, and the staff and administrators of the Newton County School System, can be squarely aimed at replicating our successes and overcoming our failures," Foster wrote in a statement. "Throughout the process Jeff Meadors has endeavored to rise above, has appropriately refrained from public comment on pending litigation, has continued to represent his constituents and all students, has been willing to confront problems and shortcomings, and has refused to participate in the circus others have created. This will continue to be his course of action."
He said with the dismissal of the suit, the legal proceedings are finished, and the burdens placed by the plaintiff upon both the school system and Meadors personally will come to an end. Any legal obligation on the part of the Newton County Board of Education to respond to discovery requests submitted as part of this action is also ended. Last week, Foster requested that the BOE provide several documents, including proposed amendments dealing with employees having supervisory roles over their family, investigations of financial mismanagement and consumption of alcohol on school trips and personnel files for Carpenter and her husband Dennis, who also is the deputy superintendent of Operations at NCSS.
Foster remains adamant that Meadors has not blogged about LaQuanda Carpenter, her family or her personal life, as she alleged in her suit.
"Mr. Meadors has never had a need to hide behind anonymity, as he has always been willing to express praise or criticism, whichever is due, publicly and in his own name. Mr. Meadors' hope and prayer for the future is the same as always, the best interest of the students of Newton County," Foster wrote. "Reconciliation and moving forward are important goals that Mr. Meadors hopes are shared by all board members, the superintendent and all employees of the school system; however, the paramount goals of all must be the safety of our children, the academic progress of our children and the preparation of our children for a successful lifetime."
Foster said that Meadors will continue to "vigorously and professionally represent" Newton County students and his constituents.
"No situation is ever improved by ignoring the realities, good or bad," Foster wrote. "Mr. Meadors will continue to address the positives and the negatives brought to him by parents and the public and present those matters to the superintendent and the Board of Education. In other words, Mr. Meadors will continue to do the job he was elected to do."
Foster said, on behalf of himself and Meadors, that "good and reasonable" people should disagree.
"Public discourse on such disagreements is healthy.The job performance of public figures, especially those entrusted with taxpayer funds and the well-being of children, is always a legitimate topic for debate," Foster wrote. "Any effort to dampen or dissuade such vigorous debate should be vehemently opposed by anyone who loves liberty and freedom, regardless of your opinion on the underlying issues. While it may be perfectly legal, and most often an exercise of constitutionally protected rights, the practical reality is that personal attacks are of no value and only serve to take the focus off the issues. Instead of confronting legitimate issues, such an approach creates martyrs and masks the underlying problems. This is true of personal attacks against both of the parties in this case, and of their legal representatives."