Posts belonging to Category Caroline County School Board



Caroline County schools make adequate yearly progress (AYP); Caroline Middle School still conditionally accredited.

According to Department of Education data compiled by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Lewis & Clark Elementary School doesn’t have an accreditation status according to RT-D‘s data. I’m guessing that’s because the school hasn’t been opened long enough for the state to make an accreditation decision. I think the state has to have three years worth of data before they’ll make a decision.

Time for a variation of Godwin’s Law and other logical fallacies from people supporting Lippa’s railroading of Benjamin Boyd.

For those not familiar with Godwin’s Law, it states: “As a Usenet [a message board-style system] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” It was also used in the ye olde days (back when you had to carry the electrons on your back!) to determine when a Usenet discussion had reached it’s peak and needed to be ended due to someone deciding to compare someone else they were arguing with to a Nazi or Hitler. Anyone that make a comparison to Nazism or Hitler was determined to have lost the argument as well.

Well, here’s a new wider variation coined by me: As any argument continues, online or offline, the probability of a comparison to a mass murderer, including a serial killer, approaches 1.

And, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached that point in the back and forth regarding Sheriff Tony Lippa’s vendetta against Caroline County High School football coach Benjamin Boyd. In a letter to the editor in the July 23, 2009, edition of The Caroline Progress, Roger Cavendish stated the following as part of a tirade against former Principal Jeff Wick, the Caroline County School Board, et al.:

I can certainly understand why Jeff Wick is an ex-principal with his moral values. For him to even suggest that the drug crime was nineteen years ago is disgusting. I am sure that if Mr. Wick has anything to say about it the next time Charles Manson comes up for parole, he will want to hire him as a music teacher — after all, it has been forty years since he killed Sharon Tate and he is quite a musician.

Yep folks, he just compared someone that was convicted of two misdemeanors for the possession of steroids nineteen years ago to someone that was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of seven people. Do I really have to point the absurdity of that argument? To compare someone to Manson, who was involved in the brutal murder of seven people, including the murder of Sharon Tate who was eight-months pregnant at the time of her death, is beyond absurd; it’s reprehensible.

In the same letter Cavendish also stated that former School Board member and Coach George Spaulding had also come out in support of Boyd’s hiring and condemned Spaulding for supporting Boyd. Now that’s pretty interesting since Lippa is such good friends with George Spaulding through his wife Elisabeth Spaulding. Elisabeth Spaulding is the widow of Stan Benson who was a very good of friend of Lippa before his passing several years ago. In fact, Lippa was a big supporter of Spaulding’s failed bid for the Bowling Green Board of Supervisors seat back in 2007. Does all that support and friendship go out the door when someone ends up on the wrong side of one of Lippa’s vendetta, or, in this particular case, is it just the ravings of a lunatic like Roger Cavendish? It’s hard to decide at this point.

And then we have a portion of a the letter that appeared in the same edition from former Virginia State Trooper Robert Gordon:

As for the cheap shot by Mr. Wick regarding Sheriff Lippa’s son-in-law being interested in the coach’s position, it now has become a situation where members of the School Board and former principal Mr. Wick are now attempting to portray Sheriff Lippa as the bad in this entire matter.

First, note that nowhere did Gordon deny the truthfulness of Wick’s allegation. And, uh, excuse me, that’s a cheap shot? Is it a cheap shot for the Sheriff, the chief law-enforcement officer in the county, to publicly and falsely accuse someone of committing a crime? Is it a cheap shot for the Sheriff to invade another government employee’s privacy and to go around stating as a fact what was included on the employee’s application? Is it a cheap shot to get someone indicted for two felonies as part of a larger vendetta against someone and then run to a friend at WTVR Channel 6 News (Jon Burkett) to have him do a story about the charges?

No, of course not. It’s only a cheap shot to reveal to the public why a elected public official is pursuing a vendetta against someone. This is part of a wider revelation I’ve had: To Lippa and the people that are supporting him in this travesty of justice, they think there are two sets of rules: One set just for them and another set that everyone else has to follow. The problem is their set of rules is blank. They can do whatever they want: falsely accuse someone of a crime, try to publicly ruin a man’s reputation using the media, or try to get a man fired from a job that he was properly hired for, and it goes on and on. But when someone dares to point why they’re taking this course of action it’s a ‘cheap shot’, ‘an invasion of privacy’, ‘uncalled for’, or whatever else they want to say about it.

And the railroading of Ben Boyd continues?

As you may be aware, Caroline County High School football coach Ben Boyd was indicted on July 1st for forgery of a public record and uttering of a public record. Below you’ll find a story from Jon Burkett of WTVR Channel 6 in Richmond (I apologize if you experience popping in the audio but that’s WTVR’s doing, not mine):

By Major Scott Moser’s own admission “the case is currently under investigation” and “could take a couple weeks” according to Jon Burkett. So, you know, don’t worry about making sure the guy is actually guilty or anything, let’s just indict him. Anyone remember the age old quote about being able to indict a ham sandwich? Perfect example here.

In certain situations, that would be alright. If you catch a suspect standing over a dead body with the proverbial smoking gun, then yeah, you would indict the guy while forensics testing and whatnot were still being done. But this situation takes on a completely different light because the sheriff — the chief law enforcement officer in the county — has publicly and falsely accused Boyd of a different crime previously while displaying zero knowledge of the situation.

And according to The Free Lance–Star (get your own link), Boyd was arrested at the school. That’s right, he wasn’t even given the opportunity to turn himself in. After all, when you have a vendetta against a guy, you want to cause the biggest scene and most embarrassment possible.

Who knows, Boyd could very well be guilty of these charges. But the Sheriff’s Office sure as heck doesn’t know for sure since they have “a couple weeks” of investigating to do still.

And, of course, there’s also the matter of Tony Spencer in this whole thing. He is the Commonwealth’s Attorney after all. But at least he’s been mum to the newspapers and other media stating “This case needs to be tried in a court, not in the press.” That’s a far cry from Lippa’s public announcement of vendetta against Boyd previously as well as Lippa’s personal friend (i.e., Jon Burkett) rushing to do a story about the case for WTVR while parroting everything that comes out of the sheriff’s office.

Yes, they’re friends before you ask. If you don’t believe me, think about this: When does WTVR do any stories about Caroline County? When it involves Lippa and his sheriff’s office. I don’t recall them covering the Gaudenzi case (a 14 year cold case) and, after all, Lippa wasn’t involved in the case, only the Virginia State Police was.

I would love to know why Lippa decided to pursue a vendetta against Boyd, an interesting theory has been suggested elsewhere (primarily on one newspaper’s website) — which I don’t plan on repeating on this space currently — but you better hope that the next person Lippa decides to go after it isn’t you or someone you care about.

Correction time: Ben Boyd did disclosure his convictions for steroid possession.

If The Caroline Progress can be believed:

Also commenting Tuesday, School Board Chairman Margaret Watkins said that Coach Boyd included the misdemeanor conviction on his application. She said that everyone has something in their past they regret. She pointed out that few at Citizens Comments criticized the hiring.

Well, in a battle between The Caroline Progress and The Free Lance–Star, they both lose. But in a normal world, someone would list those convictions on their resume. And since the burden of proof is on me to show that he didn’t (even if all I’m doing is quoting one rag of a paper, i.e., The Free Lance–Star), if another rag (i.e., The Caroline Progress) comes along and says that he did indeed list those convictions, I’m going to issue a retraction and a correction. At least until there’s some evidence contrary to what The Caroline Progress has said. Although, for some reason they use the singular term “conviction” when Boyd was in fact convicted of two different counts: possession of steroids and misbranding of a prescription drug.

Anyway…my my, my face is red. Of course, it’s not as red as some other people’s faces should be.

Just sayin’.

And the railroading of Ben Boyd begins…

I previous posted about the idiocy of hiring Ben Boyd — who had previous pled guilty to possession of steroids — to be the next football coach for Caroline County High School. Even worst, there have been allegations that he had failed to disclosure his convictions on his application when he applied for the job (I use the word “allegations” because there has been a dispute regarding whether that’s true or not).

As bad as that decision was, and as bad as the School Board’s decision to reaffirm his hiring, the reaction to his hiring has reached the point of absurdity:

Several days before the School Board meeting, Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa filed a formal complaint with the Virginia Department of Education about the process that led to Boyd’s hiring.

Search committee members said Boyd’s conviction wasn’t listed on his application, and Lippa cited a Virginia code that states anyone who makes false statements regarding a crime of moral turpitude on a teaching application is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. That person’s teaching license will be revoked upon conviction.

School Board member Sims said Boyd is a licensed teacher who will instruct a brand-new strength and conditioning class at Caroline.

“The misbranding of a prescription drug shows moral turpitude,” Lippa said. “It’s fraud.”[1]

First, let’s review the definition of “fraud”. Fraud, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, is “[a] knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment”.[2]

Second, let’s review the charges that Ben Boyd pled guilty to. The charges were possession of steroids (a federal misdemeanor) and misbranding of a prescription drug (also a federal misdemeanor). What exactly was misbranded? According to a story from The Roanoke Times handily available via LexisNexis:

Boyd was charged with misbranding various types of steroids because the labels did not include the warning “Caution: Federal law prohibits dispensing without prescription.”[3]

You folks might be wondering how the heck is that fraud, right? Well, it ain’t. If the guy had, for example, been putting aspirin in a bottle with a label that said hydrocodone (a drug similar to OxyContin) and selling it as hydrocodone, yeah, that would be fraud. But as the facts of the case stand according to The Roanoke Times, the guy never committed fraud.

Now, you may be asking yourself, even if the crimes weren’t fraudulent in nature, were they still crimes of “moral turpitude”? Here’s what the Attorney General of Virginia stated in an opinion to Delegates Danny Marshall regarding a similar statute requiring certification to school boards by contractors regarding their employees [original footnotes omitted]:

Question Four

You next inquire what specific crimes would be considered crimes of moral turpitude.

I find no statute or case that contains an exhaustive list of crimes of moral turpitude. Determining whether a particular crime involves moral turpitude begins with an examination of the nature of the crime. The Supreme Court of Virginia has defined a crime involving moral turpitude as “‘an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow man, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.'”

The Virginia Supreme Court has held that crimes involving dishonesty, including petty larceny and making a false statement to obtain unemployment benefits, are crimes of moral turpitude that may be used to impeach witnesses. The Virginia Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals of Virginia also have determined that drunkenness and illegal possession of liquor, assault and battery, gambling, transportation of untaxed liquor, and indecent exposure are not crimes constituting moral turpitude [that may be used to impeach witnesses].

Therefore, it is my opinion that whether a certain crime involves moral turpitude depends on the facts and the nature of the crime. However, crimes involving dishonesty do involve moral turpitude.[4]

Do misdemeanor convictions of steroid possession consist of “crimes involving dishonesty”? No. Do they consist of a crime that is “an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow man, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man”? Not in my interpretation.

If they do, that means anyone that failed to report a misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia could be charged and have their teaching license revoked. That’s probably a lot of people nowadays and I don’t think that would fit into the desire of the legislature when they wrote the law.

And as someone pointed out to me, if a statute and its application towards a particular defendant is ambiguous, the ruling should be made in favor of the defendant.

And here’s a even bigger question: Why is the sheriff interjecting himself into the hiring practices of a School Board? It isn’t his job to approve or disapprove of School Board hires and how accurately and completely they submit their applications. Does the School Board comes to his office and tell him who he should hire or not and determine whether his job applicants have submitted all their necessary paperwork and accurately filled out their forms? I sure as heck hope not.

I also have to wonder the following: Was Sheriff Lippa too busy focusing on this matter and sending a formal complaint to the Virginia Department of Education to use the Caroline Alert System to quickly and inexpensively send pictures out of two missing teenagers to over 2,000 people (which he didn’t do)?

  1. Taft Coghill. “Caroline coach’s hiring reaffirmed.” The Free Lance–Star. 10 Jun. 2009: <http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2009/062009/06102009/472181>. []
  2. “Fraud.” Black’s Law Dictionary. 3rd pocket ed. 2006. []
  3. Ray Cox. “CRIMINAL RECORDS DOESN’T COST BOYD.” The Roanoke Times. 11 Oct 2006: LexisNexis. []
  4. Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. Opinion to The Honorable Danny W. Marshall, III. 5 Jan. 2007: <http://www.oag.state.va.us/OPINIONS/2007opns/06-084-Marshall.pdf>. []

The Free Lance–Star gets caught plagiarizing the The Roanoke Times.

Part of an info box that was part of a story on the hiring of Ben Boyd as Caroline County’s new high school football coach back on May 22nd:

The newspaper reported police found 300 tablets of Oxandrolone Spa, three boxes labeled Primobolan Depot, one vial labeled Testosterone Cypionate, three vials labeled Nandrolone Deconoate, 210 hypodermic needles, $860 in cash and a handwritten note.

Police investigated after a postal clerk noticed Boyd was sending packages with incorrect return addresses, the newspaper reported.

Boyd, who wasn’t working in public education at the time, was indicted on federal felony charges of illegal possession of steroids. The felony charges were dismissed based on a “strategical decision,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Arenda Allen told The Roanoke Times in 1991.

Boyd, a competitive bodybuilder and hair stylist at the time, was sentenced to 18 months probation and a $250 fine. He said the steroids were for personal use.

Boyd was originally charged with intending to distribute anabolic steroids, but there wasn’t sufficient evidence presented in court that he sold them.

He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of misbranding and illegally dispensing anabolic steroids.

–Taft Coghill[1]

Here’s the story from The Roanoke Times (via LexisNexis) from back in 1996 (I’ve bolded the content that was taken word for word):

Salem police arrested Boyd at his hair salon in August 1990 after obtaining search warrants on a package and the salon. Police found 300 tablets of Oxandrolone Spa, three boxes labeled Primobolan Depot, one vial labeled Testosterone Cypionate, three vials labeled Nandrolone Deconoate, two vials labeled Testosterone Cypionate, 210 hypodermic needles, $860 cash and a handwritten note.

The police had become involved after a postal clerk noticed that Boyd was sending express-mail packages with incorrect return addresses. The clerk contacted the U.S. postal inspector.

Boyd was indicted on federal felony charges of illegal possession of steroids. But the felony charges were dismissed based on a “strategical decision,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Arenda Allen told The Roanoke Times in 1991.

[…]

When convicted, Boyd was sentenced to 18 months probation and fined $250. He also had to undergo drug tests. Glen Conrad, the U.S. Magistrate who presided over the case, told Boyd at the time that had there been any evidence to support allegations that he had sold steroids to others, including juveniles, then he would have been jailed for a substantial period of time.[2]

Damn, that’s some similarity. If I were to try that while in college, my butt would be given a ‘F’ and probably be kicked out of school. Oh well, among “journalists” it’s how you get paid.

  1. Taft Coghill. “Caroline coach’s past not disclosed.” The Free Lance–Star. 22 Mar. 2009: <http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2009/052009/05222009/467594>. []
  2. Ray Cox. “CRIMINAL RECORDS DOESN’T COST BOYD.” The Roanoke Times. 11 Oct. 2006: LexisNexis. []

Bravo, Caroline County School Board: Do you bother running criminal records checks on your prospective employees?

The Free Lance–Star:

After Ben Boyd was hired as Caroline High School’s football coach May 11, Cavaliers Athletic Director Dan Dickey said a 10-person search committee had thoroughly vetted his past.

However, three members of the committee said in recent interviews with The Free Lance-Star that they weren’t aware of Boyd’s 1991 guilty plea to federal misdemeanor charges of misbranding and illegally dispensing anabolic steroids when they recommended him for the position.

And School Board members Wendell Sims and Fred Peatross said they had no knowledge of Boyd’s past when they gave the final approval of his hiring.

[…]

“I feel real bad I let this guy slip through,” search committee member Tom Ball said. “I should’ve known. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way.”

Caroline Superintendent Gregory Killough worked in Franklin County with Boyd as recently as 2005 but said he discovered the coach’s past convictions only after Boyd was recommended by the committee.

RIP: School Board member Bill Anderson passes away. UPDATED: Short obit. UPDATEDx2: Full obit.

Floyd Thomas announced his passing at tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Will update when I know more.

UPDATE, 09/10/2008 12:49 a.m.: His obit from The Free Lance–Star:

William A. Anderson, 71, of Ladysmith died Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008, at his home. Arrangements are incomplete at Storke Funeral Home, Bowling Green.

UPDATE, 09/11/2008 3:24 a.m.: A full obit from The Free Lance–Star:

William A. “Bill” Anderson, 71, of Ladysmith died Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008, at his home.

Born in Richmond, he had retired in 2000 as a vocational teacher at Hermitage Technical Center. He was a master marine and auto technician and he was awarded “Teacher of the Year” while at Hermitage.

In his younger years, he was a champion water skier and had recently begun his second term as Madison representative to the Caroline School Board. He also was a member of Grace Community Church in Caroline.

Survivors include his wife, Sue Anderson; three children, Sharon Anderson of Richmond, Mary Lynn Anderson of Stafford County and Bill Walker of Fauquier County; a stepdaughter, Carol Sloper and her husband, John, of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.; a stepson, Gene Mongole and his wife, Kimberly, of Arnold, Md.; a sister, Betty Phillips of Arkansas; a brother, Roy Anderson of Alexandria; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his stepdaughter, Linda Mongole. He also leaves his dog, Suzie Q.

A funeral will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at Caroline Community Service Center, 17202 Richmond Turnpike, Bowling Green, with the Rev. Cash Beveridge officiating.

The family will receive friends at the center following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Grace Community Church, 10536 Gallant Fox Way, Ruther Glen, Va. 22546.

Oh, this is great: New Caroline County superintendent to continue getting paid/working for Wise County.

The Free Lance–Star:

[Gregory] Killough, 48, takes over as Caroline school superintendent July 1. He replaces Stanley Jones, who is retiring at the end of the month after six years in the post.

Killough is currently superintendent in Wise County in Southwest Virginia, but says he’s familiar with the Fredericksburg area.

And he will keep working and being paid by Wise County until April 2009 according to the Bristol Herald Courier:

Wise County, Va., Public School officials announced earlier this month that the district’s superintendent will resign July 1, but they have agreed to keep him on the payroll until April.

Gregory Killough, who will become the superintendent of Caroline County, Va., will receive $50,000 from the Wise County school system to be paid in monthly $5,000 installments through April of next year, according to a severance agreement into which he and the district entered on June 11.

In return, Killough is to “provide time and services … to assist WCSB (Wise County School Board) in its transition to a new division superintendent,” including “providing information regarding previous discussions/negotiations with all contractors, architectural and engineering firms, other third parties and employees of WCSB.”

Killough, who has been the Wise County school superintendent since 2005, was unavailable for comment Thursday and Friday.

[…]

Killough’s salary for the 2008-2009 academic year will be $120,000, a raise of more than $17,000 from Wise County, where his salary was $102,752 in the 2007-2008 academic year, said Judy Clawson, Killough’s assistant.

Caroline County will also reimburse Killough for “reasonable” moving expenses, a $1,200 per month housing allocation until the end of September or until his home in Wise County is sold, whichever comes first, according to the contract. He will have a $500 per month car allowance and a $5,000 annuity, both of which he also had in Wise County, said Clawson.

In addition, Wise County will pay Killough $15,000 for “all accumulated and non-transferable days,” according to the severance agreement.

You know, we needed a full-time Commonwealth’s Attorney for Caroline County and we managed to get one.

Looks like we need to get a full-time superintendent for our school system as well!

County to contribute $1,200,000 to school system.

The Board of Supervisors agreed last night to contribute $1,200,000 in local funding to the school system.

$600,000 will come from the general fund.

The other $400,000 will be sent back to the schools from the school’s unencumbered balance (i.e., money that is left over from this closing fiscal year that would go back to the county normally).