Monday, July 20, 2009

Defense Damages Racial Discrimination Claim

Defense Attorney John McNeill spent most of the day trying to weaken the resolve of former Booker T Washington Principal Peggy Petrilli, without much success. But he scored major points for the defense in the process.

McNeill pounded home the point that when it was Fayette County Schools Superintendent Stu Silberman's choice to replace Petrilli at BTWA, he chose Jock Gum, a white man. But the folks who selected Wendy Brown, an African American woman, as the permanent replacement as principal, that decision was made, according to the law, by the school council which was mostly white and had as members several folks from Petrilli's leadership team. That is a critical element for the jury to find for Petrilli on the charge.

McNeill spent a good part of the morning trying to establish in the mind of jurors that Petrilli was slow to bring racism to her list of complaints. Throughout the testimony McNeill offered a litany of examples where Petrilli could have, but did not, mention race among the reasons for her resignation. Petrilli rejected the notion by citing places where racial issues were inferred, while McNeill forced her to admit that the specific language was missing from her resignation, various emails and efforts to find other employment and an interrogatory where she had to list all of her complaints against Silberman.

McNeill also extracted evidence for the jury that a number of Booker T Washington students were moved to a split 2nd grade/3rd grade classroom but that parents were not informed that the students received only 2nd grade curriculum in the class, and none of them were subsequently promoted to 4th grade at the end of the year. He inferred in his questioning that it represented poor collaboration with parents and had something to do with better test scores.

Former BTWA Literacy Coach Alice Weinberg and Attorney Jeff Walther also testified.

Here are today's chirps @ Twitter.
Read 'em from the bottom up.
Follow the case in real time at Twitter/reday000

Reday000Golden conclues. Court in recess until morning. Judge warns...trial is moving slower than anticipated.

Reday000McNeill concludes. Golden redirect.

Reday000McNeill continues his cross examination of Peggy Petrilli.

Reday000Court resumes

Reday000Walther testified the he advised Petrilli that cost of defending would be $25 K + and that's only through hearing level.

Reday000Walther says district investigations typically are concluded within 20 days.

Reday000Walther excused. Court takes 15 min recess.

Reday000Walther explains what it takes for a principal , non-KEA, to sue while unemployed. No income. High fees.

Reday000Weinberg: It was very obvious to me that Jessica Berry and the Clarks wanted an Afr Am principal

Reday000Weinberg says Stu threw Peggy under the bus.

Reday000After cross - Weinberg excused. Golden calls Attny Jeff Walther.

Reday000After side bar judge announces the court is going to take 2 witnesses out of order. Golden calls Alice Weinberg.

Reday000I get the feeling McNeill is just warming up...expect him to dominate much of the afternoon

Reday000Court resumes with Petrilli back on the stand for cross examination from McNeill

Reday000By law, it was the council, not Silberman, that chose the permanent replacement, a black female.

Reday000McNeill effectively argues that when Silberman chose the interim replacement it was a white male.

Reday000Golden must prove that"Petrilli was replaced by a person of a different race"

In this morning's cross, McNeill took dead aim at the racial discrimination charge.

Reday000Court in lunch recess....McNeil continued to score points related to the circumstances surrounding resignation.

Reday000Court resumes

Reday000Shout out to FCPS BOE member Amanda Main Ferguson who is in attendance.

Reday000McNeill pounds on the fact that none of Petrilli's present claims came up in her resignation letter or efforts to get job in Jessamine Co

Reday000...shows effective coaching.

Reday000Petrilli keeps cool and faces jury not McNeill despite his suggestion to the contrary.

Reday000Petrilli under fire as McNeill tries to shake her testimony.

Reday000Here come da Judge.

Reday000McNeill will try to shake Petrilli's characterization of events in front of the jury.

Reday000The case will resume with John McNeill's cross-examination of Peggy Petrilli. The show's about to begin.

Reday000Petrilli v Silberman Day 3 is about to begin.


Anonymous said...

That should be Alice Weinberg, not Lois Weinberg who ran for the U.S. Senate a few years back.

Anonymous said...

ALICE Weinberg was the PSA at BTWA.

Richard Day said...


Yes, Alice. You are quite right. Thanks for the correction....changed above.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Petrilli lied on the stand! She knows that principals are selected by the SBDM councils but said she didn't know that. That is just one of her lies that came out. She also admitted being offered a job back at Northern but declined it. No racial discrimination here - just a bunch of lies trying to get into the taxpayers pocket.

Anonymous said...

The question then will be: Who is the bigger liar: Stu Silberman or Peggy Petrelli.

Richard Day said...

I let that last comment slip through and I'm sorry. We try to keep a level above name-calling at KSN&C and hope our commenters add some value with their comments.

I'll try to do a better job moderating.

Anonymous said...

McNeill pounded home the point that when it was Fayette County Schools Superintendent Stu Silberman's choice to replace Petrilli at BTWA, he chose Jock Gum, a white man.

I hope the plaintiff pointed out how ridiculous that point is. Stu recruited and appointed Peggy as the Permanent principal at BTWA. He had that power because it was a "new" school. Once the council was formed, they were stuck with her. The council had no power to remove her...only the superintendent had that power.

Stu no longer had the power to appoint another permanent principal once the school council was formed. His appointment of Jock was only an interim appointment until the council selected their permanent (black) principal.

Replacing Peggy with a black interim would have been stupid...the council didn't care what color the interim was...they were already in the process of searching for his black replacement.

Anonymous said...

So sorry Kentucky. You really are desperate. And here comes Terry Holliday, with his personal Baldrige agenda. Bless you! North Carolina and South Carolina will recover. We can only hope the same for you.