Friday, October 19, 2012

Gwinnett County Schools violated.........

Patricia Swilley was found guilty because the district attorney took her case to trial when she had no attorney to represent her. She did get an attorney but he had less than 24 hours to prepare for the case. It's easy to win a criminal case when your opponent is not prepared.  However, the case law shows that Gwinnett County Schools violated Ms. Swilley's 14th Amendment constitutional rights by banning her from her child's school without any form of due process hearing to challenge Donna Ledford's absurd allegations -- going to the Georgia Aquarium, allegedly talking to other parents in the parking lot about PTA elections, asking cafeteria staff about the proper food portions.  Another school district tried this tactic, and you should see how it ended --- the Washington ACLU puts it best.

[ ] : speak out about you know about the banning n GCPS.


The court explained that parents have a legal right to access their child’s school and a clear interest in observing their child’s activities at school. Because of the importance of this right, due process principles require that the school district clearly notify the parent of the right to appeal the trespass notice, before it can be assumed that the notice is legally valid.

Don't Ban Parents from School Grounds Without Due Process

posted by Rose Spidell on Thursday, May 13th, 2010 at 9:03 am

While everyone seems to agree that parental involvement in schools is critical, the ACLU filed an amicus brief in a case illustrating some of the obstacles that can arise when parents try to get involved:
Division One of the Washington state Court of Appeals accepted the ACLU of Washington’s amicus brief in the case of State v. Green.

This was a case where the mother of an elementary school student was indefinitely banned from school grounds, or “trespassed,” from her son’s elementary school in the Kent School District after she repeatedly asked pointed questions about curriculum, district policies, textbooks, and lesson plans at a “Curriculum Night” event held for parents. The District denied her request for a hearing to challenge the trespass order, and she ended up being cited and criminally prosecuted for going back to the school twice – once to try to attend a parent-teacher conference and a book fair, and once to pick up her son from a Science Fair.

No one questions schools’ authority to regulate access to school grounds in order to ensure a safe and productive educational environment. The ACLU’s brief in this case explains why a school cannot simply banish a parent from her child’s school indefinitely without any opportunity for a hearing to challenge the allegation that was causing a disruption.
For good reason, our state legislature passed a law this year directing that the Center for Improvement of Student Learning identify and highlight successful models and practices of parent involvement so that successful schools can be recognized.

The Washington State Office of the Education Ombudsman also provides resources for families and school districts who want to work on developing successful partnerships and resolving conflicts. And students and families that want to advocate for improvements in their own District’s policies and practices regarding family involvement can find helpful tips in the ACLU of Washington’s Parents’ Guide to School Board Advocacy, also available in Spanish.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Watch Raw Video

Gwinnett school officials confirmed that school police arrested a parent of a student at Starling Elementary in Grayson-Principal Donna Ledford:  Wednesday morning.Patricia Swilley is facing several charges, including obstructing an officer. She posted bail and was released from the Gwinnett County jail Wednesday afternoon."No, I was not fighting," said Swilley, whose lip was swollen and bloody. "I was not pushing. I was not shoving or any of that."School officials told CBS Atlanta the mother of four has a long history of disrupting the school and not following school rules. The district recently issued a criminal trespassing warning which bars her from the school building.“It is very rare for us to issue a criminal trespass warning against a parent," said school spokeswoman Sloan Roach. "We want our parents to be involved, but there comes a point where we cannot allow parents to harass and intimidate staff members.”Swilley said she tried to contact school officials to get permission to attend her daughter's field day events, but said no one would respond to her.School officials said police were called after Swilley refused to leave the building.Asked if police used excessive force, Roach told CBS Atlanta, "School police acted as they are trained to act. They are police officers. If a police officer tells you to do something and you don’t do it, then they arrest you.”Dozens of parents and students witnessed the arrest."I don't want to get emotional, but i just feel she is a good parent," said Kataisha Gordon, who videotaped and took photos of the arrest. "It's not fair."Roach said that like students, parents must also follow school policies."The real unfortunate thing is that she had every opportunity to leave on her own, but she refused to do so."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Trespass warning from a Gwinnett County Public School

If you are a parent who has received a criminal trespass warning from a Gwinnett County Public School or had an arrest warrant issued by the School Resource Officer (SRO), please contact Gwinnett STOPP A.S.A.P. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

An eye opener for Teachers!!

Parents and Teachers really need to speak out for our kids and the community!!!!!!

Speak out!!

Teacher Settles Lawsuit with VCUSD for $225,000
By Sarah Rohrs and Kenneth Brooks
Vallejo (CA) Times-Herald
Feb. 13, 2006
A Vallejo (CA) High School teacher who sued State Administrator Richard Damelio and other district officials for alleged harassment, discrimination and retaliation has agreed to an out-of-court settlement.
In a court document signed Dec. 2, the Vallejo City Unified School District agreed to pay veteran teacher Vernetta Northcutt $225,000 stemming from emotional distress damages associated with the civil lawsuit.
The settlement was obtained through a written request to the school district.
The district also agreed to pay her regular salary through June 30, and pay on her behalf 10 years and six months of service to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. A 20-year teacher earns a base salary of $66,757, and a 23-year teacher, $68,528. The district pays 8.825 percent of her salary annually for retirement.
Further, the district agreed to pay Northcutt’s health and welfare benefits for 10 years. Under the new health benefit cap that went into effect for employee groups this year, the district pays 80 percent of costs, which comes to $4,400 for a teacher with single coverage.
For her part, Northcutt agreed to be placed on paid administrative leave Dec. 17, and resign from her job. Under the settlement terms, she cannot seek employment in the school district. A confidentiality agreement prevents Northcutt and district officials from talking about the settlement. The confidentiality portion of the agreement allows the district to seek fines of $15,000 against Northcutt should she breach the clause. The agreement also restricts district officials from what they can say about why Northcutt left her position.
The settlement brings to an end a 3 1/2-year legal battle which has cost the school district $104,956 in legal fees, according to district records. Those legal fees are in addition to the December $225,000 settlement, plus $119,197 Northcutt received as a result of a 2004 arbitration award.
In her October civil lawsuit, Northcutt alleged district officials failed to honor a previous arbitration award and punished her for complaining.
She was seeking compensation for emotional distress and back wages denied when her sick leave was cut off, as well as punitive damages, civil penalties, and injunctions against harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
In February 2004, an arbitrator found that Vallejo High School Principal Phil Saroyan racially discriminated against Northcutt when he transferred her to another classroom. She received $70,000 for emotional distress, $41,322 in attorneys’ fees and $7,875 in back pay. She was also reinstated to her previous teaching assignment.
The district appealed the award to the Solano County Superior Court where judges sided with Northcutt. An appeal of that ruling was pending in the state Court of Appeal when the settlement was signed.
Besides Damelio and Saroyan, the recent suit also named Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Rose Peppin, and Director of Compliance and Community Services Karen Hansen. In 2004, when the arbitrator originally ruled in Northcutt’s favor, Assistant Superintendent Kevin Hanks told the Times-Herald that the arbitrator “overstepped her bounds,” and that claims of racial discrimination by Saroyan were “unfounded.”
In June 2002, Saroyan reassigned Northcutt, a 20-year district veteran with tenure, from 12th grade government and English to 10th grade world history, a grade and subject she had never taught before. The move violated the district’s collective bargaining agreement. Northcutt alleged it was racially motivated.
In a 2004 interview with the Times-Herald, Northcutt said Saroyan gave her reasons for the original reassignment, including a high student failure rate. However, the arbitrator found her class had the second lowest failure rate in her department.
In the 2004 interview, Hanks acknowledged “there were concerns regarding complaints and the number of transfers in and out of her classroom.” He added that Northcutt wasn’t the only Vallejo High teacher reassigned that year.
Rather than uphold the arbitrator’s award, Northcutt alleged that the district tried to demote her to a substitute teacher, and singled her out for her pursuit of discrimination claims.

book for bullied targets:

Bully pulpits: Books about dealing with meanies

Check out these books to learn more about dealing with and preventing bullying.

By GreatSchools Staff

For children ages 4-8:

The Berenstain Bears and the Bully by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Random House, 1993)
Talking About Bullying by Jillian Powell (Steck-Vaughn, 1998)
Ready Freddy: Don't Sit on My Lunch (Ready Freddy series) by Abby Klein, illustrated by John Mckinley (Blue Sky Press, 2005)
Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story About Bullying by Becky Ray McCain, illustrated by Todd Leonardo (Albert Whitman & Company, 2001)

For children ages 9-12:

Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain written and illustrated by Trevor Romain (Free Spirit Publishing, 1997)
Stop Bullying Bobby! Helping Children Cope With Teasing And Bullying by Dana Smith-Mansell, illustrated by Suzanne Riggio (New Horizon Press, 2004)
Bullies & Victims: Helping Your Child Through the Schoolyard Battlefield by SuEllen Fried and Paula Fried (M. Evans and Co., 1996)

For adults:

Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do by Dan Olweus (Blackwell, 1993)
Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons (Harcourt Inc., 2002)
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School — How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence by Barbara Coloroso (Collins, 2004)
Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying by Cheryl Dellasega and Charisse Nixon (Fireside, 2003)