Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Letter to the Mount Vernon News

The following “letter to the editor” was submitted to the Mount Vernon News on March 30, 2009 in response to an editorial published by the News that same day.

Editor, the News:

The editorial of March 30th was an example of the type of thinking that landed the school system into this lengthy legal process in the first place.

You blamed the legal costs on R. Kelly Hamilton spending time on questions you deemed to be unimportant. The questioning Hamilton has been giving witnesses should have been done before the school board voted to start the process of firing John Freshwater.

In your editorial, you stated that Hamilton wasted 15 minutes asking about the use of quotation marks in the notes of the investigator from H.R. On Call, Inc. Surely the News considers details, like whether it was a person’s exact words or it was a paraphrase, to be important.

In the case of the investigators from HROC, their standard operating procedure was to not allow interviewees to have a chance to look at the handwritten notes made of the interview. Why wouldn’t Freshwater’s attorney spend time examining what the notes were supposed to mean?

Contrast the thoroughness of Hamilton with that of the attorney for the school board, David Millstone. When Zachary Dennis was on the witness stand, Millstone did not even ask him to verify the statement credited to him in the HROC report that the alleged burn to his arm lasted for “three to four weeks.” Millstone also failed to ask Dennis to verify if the photos that have been purported to be of his arm were actually of him.

Does the News really think Hamilton is doing too thorough of a job in representing his client? Maybe instead of questioning Hamilton, the News should be questioning the legal advice that Millstone is giving to the school board.

—Sam Stickle


Anonymous said...

This whole thing is an embarrassing waste of time. It's pathetic they can't fire an obviously dangerous, incompetent and insubordinate teacher without having to go through this high cost of time and money. The churches and other supporters of Freshwater should be sued for the large amount of money this is costing the people of this school district.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the mother testify that she took the pictures of her sons arm? And she was under oath? If so then why do you think it matters that the schools lawyer didn't ask the boy? This teacher needs to accept the termination and get a job at a private school.

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