A Deeper Look At Whistleblower Retaliation

Two weeks ago we revealed that Montgomery County Schools iPad whistleblower, Jennifer Hall, filed suit against the school district.

As part of that lawsuit, a campaign of retaliation and retribution was revealed to have allegedly been carried out by various people within the school district. One of those people was Kristi Carter, who serves as the district’s “Public Relations Director” and director of childcare.

After our coverage of the lawsuit went live, sources from within central office provided us with audio of Jennifer Hall’s employment hearing that was nearly 3.5 hours long. Along with a copy of the original witness list from superintendent Joshua Powell’s personal attorney, who was handling school board business:


CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Only four of those people ended up being called as witnesses — Carter, Powell, Jacqui Johnston and Mary Smith. But Carter’s sworn testimony was the most interesting.

Warning: This audio file is massive. More than an hour long. Don’t attempt to play it if you’re watching your mobile data usage or don’t have broadband access.

[audio:http://pageonekentucky.com/audio/cartertestimony.mp3]

Throughout the hearing, Carter repeatedly referred to Page One as “social media” — something you know is far-fetched. She also claimed Jennifer Hall was our source of all information obtained about her. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Our sources were from the technology department, central office, Kentucky Department of Education, child care, teachers and even school resource officers.

But you can hear it for yourself. Carter admitted that iPad was synched to her iMessage account. Which means she sent the photograph of that child or had immediate knowledge the photograph and accompanying text messages were sent and did nothing about it.

Multiple sources tell us Carter never spoke to Hall about the iPad and our law enforcement sources tell us Carter never went to Hall’s home.

Our central office source also provided us with a copy of Hall’s request for hearing documentation:



CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Signatures and dates were redacted upon request. Which… pointless but whatever. Doesn’t change the facts.

Quite a few things in Hall’s response stand out:

Charge 1
Violation of Board Policy 03.2321, Use of School Property. Removing a school iPad from school grounds without approval.

Reason For Denial 1
Jennifer Hall was never informed iPad and iPods were not to be removed from District property. Mary Smith along with Terry Preece and Jacki Montgomery (Supervisors) were aware the devices were being removed from Intermediate school due to inadequate security and device charging access (the school was just opened and still undergoing final daycare details). It should be stressed, there was NO secure location to store ANY daycare materials for a period of several months from start of 2012-13 school year at Intermediate school. When a cabinet was eventually provided, Jennifer Hall had to assemble and provide her own lock for the cabinet.

Charge 2
Violation of Board Policy 03.2232, Abuse of Sick Leave and dishonesty. Visiting Office of Attorney General on sick day, October 28, 2013.

Reason For Denial 2
The illness in question was not debilitating nor life threatening. Jennifer Hall was contacted by the Office of Attorney General on October 28th, after she had already called in sick. Mrs. Hall traveled to Frankfort, despite the illness, due to the urgency of the well being of a child.

-SNIP-

Charge 4
Violation of Board Policy 03.2325, Conduct that interferes with the orderly administration of the school district childcare program. Recording conversations, creating hostile work environment.

Reason For Denial 4
Jennifer Hall was instructed by her lawyer to record conversations with Kristy Carter due to the constant deception and unethical activities by Mrs. Carter. Kristy Carter was instructing employees to lie to various daycare inspectors about the District operation. Other employees were informed about the recordings and told it was for everyone’s benefit. If someone had an issue with the recording of conversations then it’s likely their issue is due to their involvement in the deceptive activities, those persons should be investigated also. It should be noted that Mrs. Carter has deemed, by practice (read precedent), that secretive recordings of daily events is an approved activity (see legal proceedings regarding Mrs. Alice Anderson, board member, for details.)

In response to negative remarks and hostile environment, detailed information needs to be provided. In an attempt to understand this allegation, I tried to contact former fellow workers, most said they lied to protect their job but I will not present that as evidence at this time.

Charge 5
Violation of Board Policy 09.227, Child Abuse. Reporting child abuse, possible child pornography to law enforcement, not notifying school administration.

Reason For Denial 5
The “School Administration” was the potential perpetrator of this allegation, thus it made no common or legal sense to take this to the “Administration”. Jennifer Hall’s lawyer informed her to not hand the device over to the potential perpetrators, but instead, proper legal contact was made with F.B.I, Ky. State Police, KY Internet Crimes Against Kids, and Ky Attorney General. No charge about “pornography” on the device was ever mentioned, only the sending of children’s pictures illicitly was mentioned by Mrs. Hall.

Note: It appears that at the time, Hall’s attorney was Ed Dove.

Fascinating that the district tried to make the incident out to be child pornography-related, despite having paperwork and evidence to the contrary.

And a copy of a five-page letter that Hall sent Powell declaring her whistleblower status:

Superintendent Powell:

During the May board meeting I presented all board members with copies of my rebuttal letter I gave Kristi Carter requesting she attach it to my 2013/2014 evaluation. I offered you a copy of the same letter during the May board meeting and you refused stating you had already read the letter. My letter also stated I was being retaliated against because I’m a whistleblower.

I know you are going to state as part of your defense, I should have come to you before going elsewhere with the Ipad. I haven’t any confidence in you due to the fact of the treatment you have given others who came to you with problems. I watched your managing of the school system since your arrival in 2011. It’s been nothing but turmoil, chaos, and a living nightmare. Ive watched in horror as you have ruined peoples lives and careers. I have absolutely no confidence in you or your skills as a Superintendent.

The many people I know who came to you with their problems especially if it had to do with Kristi Carter received nothing but backlash and retaliation from you which in the end cost them their jobs. I watched Anthony Hayns try in vain to tell you of the brutal treatment Kristi Carter bestowed on him. I was a witness to many things she and her children done to Mr. Haynes all the while you let it happen. I watched you try to destroy Alice Cole by your cruel words and actions. You may have made Alice’s life a nightmare that school year, but guess what she went to Menifee Co. and received an award! How’s that for you Mr. Psychology major? It seems your assumptions of people based on your doctorate degree are wrong! Culture and Civility really Mr. Powell you’re a fine example to be trying to promote “culture and civility” I watched as you put Sharon Smith in the tumble down trailers beside the Early Learning Center. I constantly heard Kristi Carter’s character assassinations of people from Sharon Smith, Tammy McCarty, Sara Leach, Criana Owens, as well as parents. What fine examples running our school system.

The flirtatious picture sent of the little girl was the last straw. I gave the Ipad to the attorney general. You claim children matter to you but yet your refusal to investigate what happened with this child is proof in my opinion you could care less! If you truly cared the daycare program wouldn’t be doing without the necessities, Ive worked in the school system for 14 years and NEVER have we had to do without supplies for the students until after you took over its been nothing but poverty stricken under your dictatorship.

I spent hundreds and hundreds of my own dollars to buy things for the students so they could make crafts and etc. I have receipts to prove it. Carter would tell us to make a list and she would order the much-needed items. Guess what it never happened. The list lay on the table in the daycare office at preschool from February thru April and finally Terry Preece tore it up and threw it in the garbage and made the comment ” will never get anything on the list”. But yet you have money to spend giving away free shirts, billboard advertising and cinema ads just naming a few there’s many more I can name if I wanted.

I ask to be placed at Camargo, Carter came to me the day before the intermediate school was to open asking me to get daycare ready, licensing would be there the next day. She wanted me to do this because I have more credentials and training than any other daycare employee. I have my CDA and I am working on my early childhood education degree. No other daycare employee has this, bottom line my credentials made Kristi look good for licensing. I worked hard to get things ready and we received the license. As a matter of fact Kristi sent my file and me to preschool when it was time for STARS review. There again my credentials were used to help Kristi achieve her goals! Licensing came to the intermediate school and my file wasn’t at the school as required by law reason being Kristi was using my file to make her look good.

During my year at the intermediate school I was over ration 90% of the time. I would e-mail Carter informing her of this and requesting help. She promised to hire someone but it never happened. The next thing I know someone from licensing came in unexpectedly I was asked to lie to licensing by Kristi Carter and Mary Smith. That’s not my style Mr. Powell to tell outright lies I wasn’t raised this way and I’m too old to change now! Besides this is also a dangerous situation for the students for me to be over ratio and the only daycare worker to watch the kids. I wasn’t over ratio by just one or two kids; I was over ratio by 10 to 13 kids a day.

As a result of the constant badgering from Mary Smith and Kristi Carter asking me to lie for them my health took a turn for the worse, my blood pressure went out of sight. I went to my Doctor who placed me off work for a few days with a Dr. excuse. I told him what was going on and it is documented. Mary Smith came to me after Alice Anderson and Sharon smith was elected as board members. Mary said Kristi said for me to no longer put her son or Kristi’s son’s name on board paid daycare because they didn’t want Alice or Sharon to know they received free daycare. This is just a few examples of the things I was asked to do which is against the law.

During my time at the intermediate school I watched you march in many times go to the office and upon leaving the principal come out crying. The next thing I know the principal has the students in the cafeteria belittling the students who tested poor. She also told them you will be looking at me while your peers are at a party or dance having a good time. She informed them they would be reading and she dared them to look up because it wouldn’t be permitted. I’m assuming this horrible treatment of the students were because of your visit to the principal. Even if it wasn’t who suggested to her to treat the kids this way? This very demeaning to do children this way. The look on their faces broke my heart. Children have feelings to Mr. Powell!

When Dr. Freeman was our Superintendent we all had CPI training. It wasn’t only a select few. I was at the intermediate school with 35-38 children daily and I never received CPI certification. I suggest you, Carter, Smith, and the daycare supervisor’s brush up on regulations and requirements for childcare centers. When you do so you will find that only daycare employees are allowed to be with the kids. It doesn’t matter if they are a school employee, their name better be on the child’s pick-up list or you are breaking a law! I have witnessed this done time and time again. As a matter of fact after licensing unexpected visit at the intermediate school, Carter called Kathy Boyd and asks her to walk over and ask how many kids I was over and to take them to the office with her. There again Carter asks Kathy Boyd and I to break a law.

Carter had several meetings with me and two days before the 2012/13 year was over she moved me to MSE. It became very apparent when Carter came in the last day of the 2012/13 school year with Jacqui Johnston and wanted have another meeting with me that she had not gotten the results she wanted from our previous meeting. It was obvious Carter had expected me to resign. When that didn’t happen it was obvious she was bound and determined to have me resign or be fired. Johnston started the meeting about posting on social sites, topix being her main concern. She didn’t have one shred of evidence proving I have ever been on topix! After that meeting didn’t go as Carter expected it to, Carter and Johnston told me I had more than worked my 180 day contract and I had that summer off and I could get my blood pressure under control. A few days later I went to central office and ask Johnston what proof she had to accuse me of being on topix. Much to my dismay she said SOMEONE TOLD HER. You tell me how unprofessional that is Mr. Power? Go on a topix witch-hunt and you don’t even have the proof to back you UP! I have it all recorded.

Mary Smith, Christy Eaves, Carolyn Bonee, Candace Curtis, and Ann Leach talk to the kids horrible, yelling, shouting its ridiculous. I watched Mary Smith take a frightened child on his first day at school/daycare yell and threaten him until I knew the child was going to run. Mary wouldn’t talk to her son in this manner. How inappropriate is that for her to treat someone else’s child this way. . Bottom line I was trying to watch the team Mary had, I was trying to watch my team, I was trying to keep an eye on the child Mary was yelling and screaming at because I knew he was going to run any second, I was inching my way to the cafeteria doors to yell for help and he ran out the side door. The Chinese teachers couldn’t understand the simple word “runner” they laughed. I was even pointing out the door. They had no clue what I meant. I was walking backwards trying to watch two teams and inch my way to the door to get Cartrec’s attention. If it hadn’t been for Cartrec, I don’t know what would have happened. The little boy was stopped at the ball field within feet of the bypass road. This incident shouldn’t have happened!! It was because with my training and experience I knew he would run because of Mary’s derogatory language to him. Because of Mary Smith’s harsh language to this boy he could have been killed if he hadn’t been stopped within feet of the busy bypass!

Christy Eaves calls the kid’s turds and farts just a few of the milder words should I say. Ive had kids on Christy’s team come to me crying because they said Miss Christy called them a bad word. This is unacceptable in my world what about yours Mr. Powell??

My evaluation was ready by Kristi Carter on May 14 (I know because I saw what she put on it) Carter refused to finish my evaluation because I was recording our conversation as I’ve always done, my motto it’s better to be safe than sorry therefore it’s better for all parties concerned. It’s a win win situation I frankly don’t know what the big deal was about recording, when Carter in her own text messages told she recorded people.

Cater then suddenly decides on May 26 to finish my evaluation in the cafeteria for all to hear but amazingly she didn’t have any problems with me recording her this time. She added more things on the evaluation which were absolutely laughable things about the misspelled billboard, election of board members, Carter’s abuse of another daycare employee was also listed. She put the dates after the fact, which of course my attorney chuckled over this. The things put on my evaluation didn’t happen there were words put down as quotes using terminology I myself wouldn’t use. I refused to sign the evaluation until I talked to my attorney. The next day I went to central office signed my evaluation. I ask Carter for a copy of it when I signed it along with a copy of my rebuttal letter, Carter told me she would bring it to MSE later that afternoon it didn’t happen. I approached her several more times asking for my evaluation and she told me she had until June 1 to give it to me. FINALLY June 6 Kristi comes to daycare as usual never greeting the kids and choosing certain employees to greet. After she left I noticed a piece of paper laying on a lone cafeteria table folded as we were cleaning I went to throw the paper away and noticed my name on the folded paper when I opened it was my evaluation. Carter, didn’t have the courtesy to personally hand me my evaluation even though she should have gave it to me that day in May at central office. Leaving my evaluation on a table without telling me anyone could have taken it or threw it away!

I have never seen the school system run in such an unprofessional manner as it is now. What a shame people have to live in constant fear of their jobs, be bullied and threatened by staff. The children being treated in the manner I have witnessed is also unacceptable.

This is the opinion I have formulated of you Mr. Powell and Kristi Carter through things I hate witnessed, observed, and been a part of. I have already written a book and these other things will be for later. As Pageoneky.com has showed your contradictory rhetoric I also have the same with my voicemail, text messages, and audio recordings. My opinions from the evidence that I have contradictions and out right lies are the examples of you and your staff is leading our school system by.

Yes, Mr. Powell I’m a whistleblower and I would do it again. My first duty is to protect a child as if it were my own.

Juicy, huh?

Hall declined comment on the advice of her attorney and I was unable to get her to expound upon the contents of her letter. But the folks in central office — people formerly aligned with Powell — appear ready to support her in her lawsuit against the district.

The best part of this all? The top school cop allegedly left his job in part because of this incident and because he refused to carry out acts he believed to be unethical or illegal.

But you know what’s even crazier? We got law enforcement sources to provide us with a copy of the original investigative file created by former school cop Mike Martin. And then got the district to confirm everything was accurate. It’s probably the most damning document out of the hundreds we’ve already published.

You’ll just have to wait until 12:30 P.M. Eastern to read it.

This is Part One. Click here for Part Two.