Archive for lawsuit

Partial Lawsuit Resolution

Posted in Lawsuit with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Joan Graves

In the multiple pages of documents filed by former superintendent Elaine Farris, there was mention of only one specific. Farris stated that Patti and Paul Columbia and I filed false criminal charges against her niece, Tiffany Davis. The charges against Davis stem from an incident during a board meeting when Farris was still in charge of Clark County Schools.  Patti filed criminal charges against Davis after Davis walked by Patti and nudged, kneed, kicked, pushed or whatever verb you prefer to use. Neither Paul nor I had a hand in filing those charges. I, however, was listed as a witness due, in part, to a snippet of video captured on my phone. Davis denied all of the charges and Farris filed her civil lawsuit within a day or so of Davis being criminally charged.

In October, Davis and her attorney met with Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas. After months of delaying Davis’s trial resolution finally came. In a plea bargain, Davis agreed to a peace bond. While it doesn’t necessarily indicate Davis is admitting guilt it certainly makes the statement that she opted not to take her chances before a jury trial. The peace bond functions as a type of restraining order in which Davis agrees to stay away from the Columbias and therefore avoids further court appearances and possible jail time.

Why did you not read this in the Winchester Sun? I asked the same question. The Sun’s response was that since Davis didn’t live in Clark County they didn’t report on it. Yet, the crime occurred in Clark County, the trial would have taken place here and the plea deal was struck by our tax paid county attorney, thereby providing a steak in the case to every tax paying citizen in Clark County. The Winchester Sun is filled daily with car accidents, crimes and other stories regarding individuals that do not live in Clark County. So, we must ask ourselves why the Sun has “rules” that apply to some but not all. Then again, considering comic books are larger than the Winchester Sun these days I don’t think it matters much.

Stand Up Clark County and demand truth and disclosure.  Image

 

Trying To Answer Your Questions On Today’s Fast Breaking Events

Posted in Board of Education (General), Herald-Leader, In The News, Lawsuit, National Stories, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by Joan Graves
Downtown Winchester, KY

Downtown Winchester, KY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There have been some important events today. I’m always amazed at how quickly information travels. As you all know, I am restricted from discussing specifics of the lawsuit filed against the Columbias and me. I can confirm that yes there have been new developments today but I can elaborate no further. However, be assured that the moment we have secured our victory you will hear about it first right here.

The middle school merger is getting some long overdue attention. In addition to the previous post regarding Herald-Leader coverage you can follow this link http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-971738 to my CNN iReport.

Speaking of media attention, I will be interviewed tomorrow by Casey Castle of the Winchester Sun. I know many of you have been frustrated with the Sun coverage which is why I think it’s important you know about the interview. I have been very pleased with recent conversations with Mr. Castle and am thrilled he has taken on the endeavor of writing an in-depth report of the entire school issue.

I know many of you want answers and you will have them as soon as I am able to release them to you. Until then be pleased with the changes your commitment has brought about and look forward to the fantastic days ahead.

Stand Up Clark County and stay tuned.

Final Legal Update

Posted in Board of Education (General), Elaine Farris, Lawsuit with tags , , , , , , , on February 19, 2013 by Joan Graves

A Flashmob for Free Speech - 2

This will be the last update I will provide regarding the lawsuit. I have been notified by my attorney that an order has been secured which prevents me from having any comments on this blog or elsewhere in social media. This “gag order” of sorts, is in effect for ALL parties. Your continued support and prayers are greatly appreciated and I will be back in touch as soon as I am legally able to do so.

School Superintendent Files Lawsuit Over FB Posts – Sound Familiar?

Posted in Elaine Farris, In The News, Lawsuit, National Stories with tags , , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Joan Graves

It seems we are not alone. This article is eerily similar to our current situation.  What I found most interesting was that this superintendent was also very vague in the complaint. I am amazed that our court system allows lawsuits to even be filed without identifying specific details about what the crime is supposed to be. No wonder how court systems are backed up.

School Superintendent Files Lawsuit Over Facebook Posts – NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |.

New Beginnings – The First 2013 Board Of Education Meeting

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Dr. Michael Kuduk, Judy Hicks, School Board Election 2012 with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2013 by Joan Graves

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Tonight was the first meeting of our newly elected board of education. For anyone not in attendance you missed the excellence of a board united in improving the educational climate we have adapted ourselves to. Should you happen to run into board members within the community be sure to take a moment and stop to thank them for taking on the enormous responsibility of improving the education of our students.

The new board elected their governing body this evening. Previously, Judy Hicks served as chairperson with Debbie Fatkin as vice-chair. For 2013, it will be Dr. Michael Kuduk directing the board by serving as Chairperson. Michael McGowan was elected to serve as vice-chair.

Dr. Kuduk wasted no time getting down to business. One of the first changes he wants to initiate is changing board meetings from once a month to twice a month. When Judy Hicks indicated two Tuesday’s a month would be too much for her work schedule, Ashley Ritchie wisely asked if board meetings had to occur on Tuesdays. They do not, which opened up enormous opportunities for setting days convenient to all. There are still details to hammer out but at this point it appears as though board meetings will be conducted one Tuesday and Thursday of each month.

By increasing the frequency of meetings it provides the board extended time to review and finalize the agenda, as well as provide the community additional time to come before the board with comments and concerns. Board meetings have a history of being extensively long. In June, a board meeting wasn’t adjourned until two in the morning. Many working parents find the extensive length of board meetings a deterrent for their attendance. They simply don’t have the time to work, care for the family and attend a 3-4 hour board meeting. Dr. Kuduk’s proposal will decrease the time commitment for parents, board members and faculty. If you are unable to make a meeting you won’t have to wait an entire month before getting the assistance you need. Tonight’s meeting was for organizational purposes so the regular board meeting will take next week as usual.

During the years I have been attending board meetings it has always been easy to determine who the new board members were. They are often timid and unsure of themselves. That was certainly not the case tonight. Our newly elected officials had no hesitation making motions, seconding them, asking questions or offering recommendations.

Another significant change was inclusion. Several times Dr. Kuduk looked to those in attendance to include them in decisions. He specifically looked to them as the second date for a board meeting was discussed. Involving the community and employees in decision making was highly promoted by Stand Up Clark County so we are well pleased to see the board turning in this direction.

After a tumultuous year, hope, peace and unity reined this evening. This is a board willing to put the needs of the students above their personal ones. This board firmly established that they have done their homework and are well-versed in proper procedure and knowledge of how a successful board conducts themselves.

This is only the very first meeting on the very first day of our educational restoration. It is a new year filled with the promises of what is truly a new beginning. So, Stand Up Clark County because without a doubt, you made it happen.

 

Winchester Sun Reports On Legal Drama

Posted in In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2013 by Joan Graves

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Winchester Sun Reports On Legal Drama

Click the link below the “rethinking education” banner to be connected directly to the Winchester Sun’s report. 

Stand Up Clark County continues to be the central focus in education. Although, we would like to say the central focus is purchasing backpacks for students, improving test scores and retaining our teachers, we accept the attention to our cause and the students of this great county. As the Sun’s report made crystal clear, Stand Up Clark County has done nothing but speak the truth. Which is exactly what we will continue to do.

Stand Up Clark County for truth.

Take 2 of The Backpack Attack

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Point of View with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Joan Graves

mesh laundry bag

It has become impossible for me to ignore this entire backpack issue but the sheer number of people requesting a response is too much to ignore. I am simply sick with what happened today to some students. The point of having a dress code in school was to level the economic playing field. When my son, Colton, was in middle school his therapist didn’t want to pull him out of class for therapy exercises. The rationale was to not single-out a student as being different. Even though Steve and I both said that therapy was more important than peer perception, it wasn’t done.  So, imagine how surprised I was to learn today that administrators at GRC purposely  singled-out students in front of their peers for lacking the ability to purchase a mesh backpack.

Just like you, my mind is incapable of comprehending why anyone would find it necessary to go to such links to shame and embarrass students. Any attempt at school safety was completely undone the second the decision was made to haul kids into the library for a grotesque display of “the haves and the have nots”.

Before I go further, let me make clear a few things. First, I am speaking opinions that I share with others, some involved in Stand Up Clark County and some not. This is our exercise of our constitutional right to free speech. Secondly, anyone attempting to make this blog about them should save themselves the time and effort. These are statements about a public school system not an individual. If you are an individual, in charge in some capacity within the school system , and you take offense to these remarks, it is only the guilt of your own conscience. Third, I am in no way attempting to create public outrage. I am, in fact, attempting to contain it by encouraging others to peaceful, meaningful and acceptable ways of challenging public regime by elected officials.

Today, a report was released stating that Kentucky scored the absolute lowest in the area of communication between school district policy makers and the community. That has been the central focus of Stand Up Clark County from the onset. There is no way this school district will ever be successful as long as there is no open, on-going dialogue between school officials and the community. At this point there is nothing more the community can do. We have spoken. We’ve made our point and cast our ballots. We must now rely upon our governing educational system to, at the very least, attempt to find a middle ground.

As parents, it is imperative for us to keep a cool, rational mind. We are an example to our kids. There is no harder job than for a parent to remain calm, cool and collected when we perceive our kids have been done wrong. But it is only with a clear mind that we will achieve success for them.

Today, some students at GRC, got an embarrassing lesson in the ramifications of poor leadership.  To those students I would like to say, you have done nothing wrong. You are not less than anyone. You are valuable, intelligent and worthy. You have a tremendous future in front of you. In the words of Elenore Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Do not consent. Do not be angry. See this moment as an opportunity for personal growth. It takes a tremendous amount of character to avoid responding when you feel slighted, yet to do so offers unspeakable rewards.

To the students that had mesh backpacks and were not singled-out, I ask you to go out of your way to help your peers. Show your own integrity by refusing to participate in singling-out students already scorned. The difference in what you carry on your back means nothing if it doesn’t make a difference in how you behave.

School employees, I am well aware that many of you were surprised, disappointed and embarrassed by today’s events.  My advice to you is to always act appropriately but to also stand up for your students. If you are unable or unwilling to go to your supervisors at the very least go to the kids. Make sure your students are not carrying emotional burdens in-place of mesh backpacks.

As parents, it is our  responsibility to make sure our kids always respect employees of the educational system, yet they need to know they have support. Talk to your student about today’s events and determine the level of importance your student assigned to it. Gage their thoughts and emotions without inserting your own. Afterwards, if you feel it necessary I suggest you address the board at the next meeting, which I believe is January 15th.

All of that being said I must again clarify the legality of these statements. I, Joan Graves, am writing these words based upon the overwhelming response to this backpack issue. I am not in any way telling anyone how to behave. I am only pointing out a legal, peaceful, and logical way to express an opinion on the matter at hand. I am in no way encouraging community outrage, contempt, hatred or conspiracy. These remarks are not intend to annoy, slander, annoy, ridicule or defame anyone within the school system. And absolutely, under no circumstance would I be intending to alarm an individual, disturb his/her fragile emotional state or in any other way cause harm or injury to another’s reputation.

So……Stand Up Clark County but only if you want to. 

First Court Appearance

Posted in In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View with tags , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2013 by Joan Graves
Clark County Courthouse

Clark County Courthouse (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

 

 

 

Today was the first court appearance in the lawsuit filed against me by superintendent Elaine Farris. It was a minor motion that required a judge’s ruling as attorneys squabbled over legal details. It took longer waiting for our turn than it did to actually complete the process.

 

My attendance was not required today, as my attorney could have easily represented me. But it was me that made the commitment to you, not my attorney. Therefore, I believe it is my responsibility to be in that courtroom every time, for every motion or procedure. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 6 hours out of my day doesn’t matter. Not a second of time I sit in that courtroom is wasted, because it is time that I am representing you and our fundamental values.

 

I was well aware of the difficulties, hardships and successes that came with the leadership role of Stand Up Clark County. When I accepted that position I accepted all the terms that accompany it, forgoing the opportunity to pick and choose when it was convenient for me to represent you. I cannot give you details of the actual case but I can give you my time, effort, energy and commitment. And I do not take my commitments lightly.

 

Without a doubt, I know that Clark County Public Schools have brighter days on the horizon. It is that unshakable faith, our commitment to education and your support and encouragement that will catapult our community into a better tomorrow.

 

Stand Up Clark County, we are fully committed.

 

Stand Up Clark County Listed As Major 2012 Event

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Joan Graves

Stand Up Clark County Listed As Major 2012 Event

The Winchester Sun reported on events in Clark County that were important in shaping our community over the past year. The success of Stand Up Clark County in redesigning our educational landscape was noted. Unfortunately, our intent to allow the election to bring closure was thwarted when the lawsuit by the superintendent was filed. However, I predict that next year at this same time Stand Up Clark County will again be reported as a major news story for continuing to improve education.

Stand Up Clark County to improve our community through educational accountability.

stand up cc

Legal Update

Posted in In The News, Lawsuit, National Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2012 by Joan Graves

Out of respect for the tragedy in Newtown Connecticut last week I have intentionally avoided blogging. I hesitate to do so now but so many of you are requesting information I thought I should make a brief statement.

I am in constant contact with my attorney who has simply done an outstanding job. I just can’t say enough about Tom Miller and the firm Miller, Griffin and Marks. The Columbias have separate representation but they too are pleased with their representation. We are looking forward to our vindication in court, which isn’t far away.

For those that have contributed to my legal defense, thank you. Whether it’s $10 or $1,000 every penny is infused with hope, commitment and generosity. It is an amazingly beautiful way of letting Steve and I know you are partners with us. I can’t explain what it means to have you all stand up for us and the students of Clark County. Thankfully, the time is quickly approaching when this all will come to an end.

Our difficulties here do not compare to the tragedy in Connecticut. I am still unable to write about  it. It’s just too soon and too painful. For now, we must all remember that regardless of what we do or do not find under the Christmas tree, we still have a tremendous gift. Living outside of tragedy is a delicate gift we should never overlook. So, this Christmas and for many years to come, lets love more completely, pray more humbly and hug our kids more often. Every time we do, we honor those that died that day by refusing to let evil win. The only thing that will ever bring evil to a screeching halt is love. In the face of loving humanity evil cannot win – ever.

Stand Up Clark County and pray for Newtown. May God bless each one of you and I pray you have a merry Christmas.

hands on heart