This is Episode 20 in the story of the formation, rise and fall of the little education collective that used to exist up here on our mountain. I wrote and posted this account three years ago on my blog and then pulled it off because someone whose name I had not changed, objected. Now I have changed both the name of the little school itself, and the names of everyone who might be negatively impacted, and plan to re-post the story, one episode per day, until all 32 are again on my blog.
Judgment for the Defendants
Before I extricate myself from that legal hook, I think it important to note that Imika claimed that the district deprived Misha of equal educational opportunities. As we examine the three contract teachers who served as Misha’s contract teacher, we see that Imika was responsible for severing ties with all three.
By not fulfilling parental responsibilities, Imika forced Karen into having to relinquish Karen’s contract teacher status. Strike one. By becoming disenchanted with Lynn because she did not like Lynn’s testimony, and subsequently asking for a new contract teacher, Imika gave up her second opportunity. Strike two. And finally, she complained that Liz was not able to give Misha as much time as she thought was needed, and Liz was reassigned to the high school. Strike three.
Meanwhile, Judge Susan had ruled that Karen had not been responsible for any public deprivation of rights, so it was my turn.
The plaintiffs made essentially the same allegations with respect to me.
“First, the plaintiffs contend that O’Neill refused to teach Misha when he became a contract teacher in the Fall of 1989. The plaintiffs offer as evidence his statement that he had no interest in teaching students who were not part of the Collective. However, the evidence is undisputed that (1) at the time O’Neill became a contract teacher, Misha already had a contract teacher, Lynn, and (2) he was never asked to take on Misha as one of his contract students.
Moreover, during the period that O’Neill was employed as a contract teacher, a mutual restraining order was in effect between Corrine and him, which she had violated on four separate occasions. Under any circumstances, his decision not to volunteer as Misha’s contract instructor, did not deprive Misha of equal public educational opportunities.
Imika also alleged that O’Neill participated in the expelling of Misha from the Bell Springs Collective program. The evidence is undisputed that he was not hired as a contract teacher, until almost a year after Misha’s alleged exclusion from the Collective. Because O’Neill was a private citizen at the time of the exclusion, he could not have acted in an official capacity to exclude Misha from the Bell Springs program, which was in any event, a privately run program. The plaintiffs’ arguments with respect to plaintiff O’Neill are clearly without merit.”
As far as defendant Mark I. was concerned, Judge Susan went on to find that the plaintiffs’ claims that they had been deprived of their rights was false, because no evidence could be found that Misha was treated any differently than any other contract student, during his time as Interim Superintendent.
“The plaintiffs made several allegations concerning Principal Richard M and Superintendent Brian B: (1) that the defendants sanctioned Karen’s refusal to teach Misha, (2) that the defendants failed to provide Misha with a new contract teacher in the Bell Springs area, and (3) that the defendants conspired to make the provision of public school services, for which they were responsible, contingent upon the approval of a private group.
As regards the first allegation, the evidence is undisputed that Lynn was assigned to be Misha’s contract instructor, after Karen decided not to continue as Misha’s teacher, and Misha remained in the contract teaching program until she was placed on a waiting list for a contract teacher, along with other students in September, 1991. There is no evidentiary basis for finding that Misha, who was assigned a contract teacher after Karen decided not to continue as Misha’s teacher, was deprived of equal educational opportunities by defendants Richard M and Brian B.
The plaintiffs also assert that the defendants failed to provide Misha with a new contract teacher in the Bell Springs area. The plaintiffs emphasize the difficulties encountered by Misha in traveling to Laytonville to meet with her contract instructor. Nevertheless, the evidence is undisputed that the school district’s policy was to permit contract teachers to decide jointly, where meetings would take place.
The plaintiffs have presented no evidence that the school district’s policy of permitting the student and teacher to determine a meeting place was applied with respect to Misha in a disparate or arbitrary fashion. Misha’s classmates may have met with their contract instructors at locations closer to the students’ homes; however, the locations of meetings were determined jointly by students and contract teachers. The plaintiffs have presented no evidence to the contrary. The plaintiffs’ argument is rejected therefore as without merit.
Finally the plaintiffs allege that the defendants conspired to make the provision of public school services for which they were responsible, contingent upon the approval of a private group. The plaintiffs’ argument is foreclosed by the Ninth Circuit’s earlier ruling in this matter. The plaintiffs are precluded from seeking relief for the deprivation of private, as opposed to public, educational opportunities. As such, the court grants summary judgment on the equal protection claim in favor of defendants Richard M and Brian B.”
Linda T-J entered the legal battle, because she was the superintendent who followed Mark I, and had to address the Chintz matter.
“The plaintiffs allege that in October and November, 1994, Superintendent Linda T-J refused to meet with Corrine to discuss Misha’s return to the school district. The plaintiffs do not offer any admissible evidence in support of this allegation. The cited deposition testimony of Corrine is conclusory and lacks foundation. Misha’s testimony constitutes hearsay, and is inadmissible:
Question: You were not present at that meeting?
Misha: Not that I remember.
Question: Did your mother tell you what happened?
Question: And what did she tell you?
Misha: She said that Linda T-J had--I don’t remember if she met with Linda or if Linda just told Sally. I think it was that Linda had told Sally that they weren’t allowed to talk to us because we were in litigation, there was a lawsuit.
In contrast, the defendants submit as evidence Linda T-J’s sworn statement that “neither she, nor her staff to her knowledge ever advised Ms. Chintz that Misha could not be re-enrolled in the School District because of her ongoing lawsuit against various School District related defendants. The plaintiffs cannot defeat defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.
The Court therefore grants summary judgment on the equal protection claim, in favor of each of the defendants and against the plaintiffs.
Eight years to the day after my courtroom experience began, it finally came to a conclusion. I don’t even remember thinking about the five million ($) reasons for being glad it was over, so much as thinking I was glad I no longer had to drive down to Ukiah, to spend a day in the corridors of Ukiah’s Superior Court, or consulting with Barry Vogel, on a point of clarification, as he maneuvered those corridors in our stead. It cost a lot of money to watch him walk those corridors, but I paid him with a smile.
When that didn’t work, I paid him cash.