The Pickens County School System has requested a $1 million lawsuit concerning previous issues within the school basketball program be moved out of Pickens County Superior Court and heard in the federal court system in Gainesville, Ga.
The original suit was filed by John Curry, father of a former PHS basketball player on July 29, 2016.
In the suit, Curry requests punitive damages for five listed parties as a result of what he claims is the school system’s “willful misconduct, malice, fraud and a total lack of responsibility in protecting these children,” regarding the basketball team.
See full story in this week's print or online editions. See John Curry's full statement on the schools system's request for the case to be moved to federal court below.
The following is my official statement as it relates to the latest action in my suit against the Pickens County School System.
August 28, 2016
I was notified by U.S, mail on Friday August 26, that the attorney for the defendant has filed a Notice of Removal with the Superior Court of Pickens County. This simply means that they have requested that the case be moved to Federal Court in Gainesville, GA. Also, I noticed that the defendant has retained the firm of Harben, Hartley, & Hawkins, LLP out of Gainesville, GA.
This is simply a ploy by the defendant to do two things:
1. Move the proceedings out of Pickens County so that less members of our community can witness the proceedings.
The tax payers of Pickens County need to be asking why the defendant feels it is necessary to move these proceedings and to retain additional representation. Why do they not feel that they can win this battle locally? Why do they feel the need to spend more tax payer monies by retaining another Law Firm? This simply proves that they do not want this to be about the truth and the facts of this case. They are trying to have this case not be heard at all.
They have clearly broken the law by allowing the basketball coach to cut a player because he sent an email to the Superintendent complaining about the coach and his treatment of players. GA Anti-Bullying Law assures the protection of children that make allegations from retaliation regardless if the allegation is true or not.
They have also clearly broken the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act by failing to redact all identifying markers of the child that sent the email. Under FERPA, they must redact any identifying markers to protect the identification of the child. Well, in his email, the child mentioned his graduation class / year at least twice and that was not redacted. This is public record and anyone can request a copy through the Open Records Law of GA. Their failure to redact that information made it easier for the coach to identify the child.
This is and never has been about the money. The fact is that the plaintiff, at some point, realized the validity of these issues and shut down. I do not know why, but I suspect that the coach threatened litigation through his lawyer and it scared them. They simply chose fighting me on a pro se basis as apposed to the coach who retained a lawyer that is provided him via the Teachers Union.
I have offered three times to meet with them and try to come to some sort of agreement. To date, they have failed to respond. This case can be settled out of court for a fraction of the $1M if any and I feel they owe it to the tax payers of Pickens County to meet with me and attempt a settlement.
I assure everyone that the facts in this case will be an embarrassment to this entire community. I have been attacked on social media, message boards and in Dr’s Offices by person’s who know nothing about these facts. The defendant has also tried to embarrass me by mentioning a personal injury case that I am involved in. I assure you that my medical records as a result of that accident will speak for themselves.
I am certain that every parent in Pickens County would try to protect their children if they were treated this way. I played college basketball and I guarantee you that I have never been treated, as an adult student, anywhere near like these kids have been treated. Again they are kids.
At this point I am open to a Town Hall Meeting to discuss these issues with anyone that wants to participate and I would hope that the defendant would be willing to do so as well. Just let me know when and where.
John P. Curry