Montgomery Co. Whistleblower Fired For Actions

Regular readers of Page One know Jennifer Hall as the iPad whistleblower — the woman who went to law enforcement with evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Montgomery County Schools officials. You also know her as someone who refused to lie to the Office of Inspector General. You also know she’s been fired by the Joshua Powell crew in retaliation for all that.

Her attorneys won’t like it but we’ve gotten district officials (people Powell will never be able to weed out) to leak personnel documents to us to prove Hall was fired for turning over the iPad to the Attorney General. Hall won’t comment on the advice of her Louisville counsel (this means she doesn’t have a local yokel attorney who has to worry about small town politics) and we’re running the documents regardless because of their value as a news item and their value to the citizens of Montgomery County. Since Powell’s own employees tell us he leaked this information to the local newspaper and they started poking around, it only makes sense to run it.

So here it is:

Dear Ms. Hall:

You have been suspended with pay from June 16 through August 5, 2014, for investigation of conduct unbecoming a school employee. Jacqui Johnston and Phil Rison have investigated this matter and have submitted the attached report, concluding that you have engaged in conduct that is in violation of one or more of the ‘Causes for Action’ set forth in Montgomery County Board of Education (“Board”) Policy 03.27.

I am commencing proceedings to terminate your classified contract and employment with the Board because the investigation confirms that you have engaged in conduct unbecoming a school employee, neglected your duties and committed the following violations:

1. Violation of Board Policy 03.2321, Use of School Property – removing a school iPad from school grounds without approval. Mary Smith noticed that an iPad was missing from the Mongtomery County Intermediate School (“MCIS”) Childcare Program.

-SNIP-

Kristi Carter sent you an email on June 7, 2013 stating that if you had the iPad and a student’s iPod, to please return them on Monday, July 10, 2013. You never responded and you did not return the items.

-SNIP-

During fall 2013, Kentucky State Trooper Nathan Shortridge made several attempts to contact you regarding the missing iPad. When he finally made contact, you admitted that you had removed the iPad from MCIS and had taken it to the Kentucky State Attorney General’s Office. You did not obtain approval to remove the school’s iPad from the school as required under Board Policy 03.2821.

2. Violation of Board Policy 03.2232, Abuse of Sick Leave and dishonesty. You reported on your timesheet that you were sick on October 28, 2013. Your hours of work are from 2:00 pm — 6:00 pm. The Acknowledgement of Receipt of Records Form from the Attorney General’s office confirms that you delivered an iPad at 5:01 pm to the Office of Attorney General on October 28, 2013.

3. Violation of Board Policy 08.2323, Access to Electronic Media. You placed a pass code on the MCIS iPad that you delivered to the Attorney General’s office without authorization to do so. The pass code prohibited anyone else from accessing the iPad.

4. Violation of Board Policy 03.2325, Conduct that interferes with the orderly administration of the school district childcare program. It has been reported on several occasions by childcare workers that you recorded their conversations without their consent, you were very negative, you made disparaging remarks about school employees and the school system; and you would not work as a team player. Your inappropriate behavior not only intimidated your co-workers, but also created a hostile work environment.

5. Violation of Board Policy 09.227, Child Abuse. During late summer or early fall 2013, you contacted a law enforcement agency to report possible child pornography that was on a school iPad that was issued to the MCIS Childcare Program. You failed to notify the principal or any other school administrator that you filed a report as required under Board Policy 09.227.

6. During May 2014, Kristi Carter instructed you that it was your job responsibility to interact and participate in activities with the students on the playground. You neglected your duties as childcare worker, however, and on at least two occasions sat at a picnic table instead of engaging students on the playground.

Let’s dig into that.

Powell acknowledges that she’s being fired for turning an iPad that potentially contained evidence of child pornography over to the state’s top law enforcement agent! He’s firing her for that!

On the state trooper front, let’s go ahead and publish one of the the unredacted messages:


ORIGINAL MESSAGE WE OBTAINED

As you can see, the appearance of impropriety is extreme. To say the least.

We contacted three of Hall’s former colleagues to ask about the iPod mentioned. We determined that the kid broke her iPod while at daycare and Hall was having her husband repair the device. When it was determined that he couldn’t repair the screen because the damage was extensive, they gave the kid an iPhone. So those claims? More than bogus.

The hostile work environment and recording coworkers? She recorded her meeting with Kristi Carter after it was clear she was being retaliated against.

Finally, Nathan Shortridge gets named by Powell. (He’s the son of the sheriff who conveniently neglects to serve EPOs and such to Powell — because they’re all big friends.) He’s one of the troopers who attempted to intimidate Hall in order to prevent her from turning over evidence of wrongdoing.

And adding a passcode (The passcode was added by law enforcement. That’s something easily verified with a quick telephone call.) to the device to prevent guilty parties from altering evidence? That’s just good practice. Here’s why — an excerpt from the “investigation”:

6. Kristi Carter reported that no access passcodes were put on any childcare iPads when they were purchased and placed at the school sites. However, it was learned that a passcode had subsequently been added to the MCIS childcare iPad that Ms. Hall removed from school grounds; therefore, rendering it inaccessible to others. Kentucky State Police were able to access the photos by “swiping” the hard drive, but unable to access any other data. When the school technology staff checked with Apple, it was reported that the only way the district could access the iPad was to “wipe” (erase) it.

Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

They got caught by Jennifer Hall. She went to the Attorney General — only after the KSP intimidated her — and then they fired her for proving just how corrupt they are.

This is a case that won’t just tar and feather Montgomery County Schools but also Jack Conway.

It’s a scandal that Montgomery County won’t be able to easily escape.

P.S. Jennifer’s job was posted before she terminated. Imagine that.