Griffin Explains Her Lawsuits

Former Charlottesville superintendent Scottie Griffin (who now goes by “Scottie Jo Griffin”) had an interview with the Fall River school board yesterday, in an effort to take the top post there just weeks after her C’ville fall from grace. As reported by the Herald News today, she explained what led to her being sued in New Orleans:

Griffin explained that the lawsuit in New Orleans stemmed from complaints that had begun previous to being hired. She said she attempted to rectify a situation in which the secretary did not receive pay for overtime work, but the employee did not respond to those attempts.

“I left the school system and was not asked to give a statement or show up (in court),” Griffin said about a hearing concerning the employees’ grievance.

Griffin’s statement stands in stark contrast with reality. In fact, the lawsuit had to be settled, because Griffin “disconnected her telephone numbers and refused to get in contact with lawyers,” and then failed to show up on court, as described by her own attorney. Her dismissal of the lawsuit as “complaints that had begun previous to be hiring” are also at odds with the truth. As Bob Gibson uncovered in the Progress some months ago, the woman who sued her was a 36 year veteran of the New Orleans school system. She requested a transfer away from Griffin, shortly after Griffin took the reigns there as an area superintendent, citing “intolerable working conditions,” unpaid overtime, and invented allegations of theft. As conditions became worse, Clay’s health deteriorated, until her doctor ordered her not to work until she could get out from under Griffin’s thumb. Griffin denied her medical leave. Clay sued. Griffin left the job shortly thereafter, remaining there for just eight months.

But Griffin doesn’t settle for merely misrepresenting her time in New Orleans. Then there’s Our Fair City:

She continued to explain that her shortened term in Charlottesville was in part an issue of politics after an attempt to reassign a veteran employee of the school district.

“I came under attack from a person who was very well politically connected,” Griffin said. “That attack continued throughout the school year. I could handle being attacked and I could handle the slander, because I knew it wasn’t true.”

She said as the matter progressed she found it was taking away from her efforts to focus on student achievement, and that led to her decision to resign.

“I decided if I cannot focus on student achievement, I would resign my position, and I did,” she said.

That’s rather a simplistic way to describe the proceedings. Others might describe it as Griffin attempting to fire a whistleblower who made public widespread concerns among teachers and administrators that Griffin’s “decisions” and “behaviors” were “significant barriers to the success of our efforts to close the achievement gap and to provide excellent educational experiences for all students.” After Griffin’s public embarrassment and subsequent further exposure as a fraud, she was forced out and paid a quarter of a million to please just go away.

In her interview in Fall River, MA, Griffin described herself as “one of the best candidates you’ll ever encounter,” and bravely offered to move there from Charlottesville if selected for the position.

Interviews with two other candidates are scheduled for Monday.

07/26 Update: James Fernald has a story in today’s Daily Progress.

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