Thursday, October 23, 2014

Patron suing over West Franklin expulsion

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/26/2013

The tables have turned.

In the wake of a Franklin County judge denying the West Franklin school board president’s request for a protection from stalking order against district patron Henry Snodgrass, Snodgrass filed a suit in small claims court Monday against the school district’s superintendent Dotson Bradbury — seeking $4,000.

The tables have turned.

In the wake of a Franklin County judge denying the West Franklin school board president’s request for a protection from stalking order against district patron Henry Snodgrass, Snodgrass filed a suit in small claims court Monday against the school district’s superintendent Dotson Bradbury — seeking $4,000.

The matter, in which Snodgrass says he was wrongly denied access to school property, is scheduled to be heard before Judge Taylor Wine 10 a.m. July 29 in small claims court.

Judge Kevin Kimball ruled June 7 in district court that Thayne Bush’s petition against rural Williamsburg resident Snodgrass did not meet the “statutory burden” for a protection order to be granted.

Bush testified during a June 3 hearing before Judge Kimball that Snodgrass confronted him after two public meetings March 27 and March 28 to discuss a contentious bond issue that would consolidate the West Franklin school district into a single campus in Pomona. District patrons defeated the proposed bond issue by more than a 2-to-1 margin in a mail-in ballot election June 4.

The burden of proof for a stalking order was met in the second of two reported incidents, Kimball said in his written opinion, but not in the first alleged confrontation between Bush and Snodgrass. The burden of proof must be met in at least two separate incidents for the protection order to be granted, the judge said.

In an April 3 letter, Bradbury notified Snodgrass that because of the two alleged incidents, Snodgrass was “prohibited from being at school, on school property and from attending any and all school sponsored events including USD 287 Board of Education meetings for one calendar year.”

Snodgrass said Wednesday evening that he would like to attend school board meetings again and talk with the new school board members he helped elect into office.

In his petition, Snodgrass alleged that “Bradbury has taken my freedom away by acting as judge and jury on his letter April 3, 2013.”

Snodgrass said in the petition he had been cleared by Judge Kimball of any allegations Bush had made against him and that Bush had lied during the hearing about both incidents March 27 and March 28.

“I’m a veteran, and I don’t like being lied about and my freedom taken away,” Snodgrass wrote, adding that he had unfairly been singled out by Bradbury for expulsion from school property.

“I had a right to talk with my school board members, and Bush was [the board representative] from Williamsburg,” Snodgrass said. “I wasn’t doing anything different than any of the 1,400 others in the district, so I don’t think it was fair to single me out.”

In the petition, Snodgrass, 71, said he was seeking $4,000, plus interest, costs and other damages deemed appropriate by the court, for the emotional distress, discrimination, slander and several other grievances associated with the one-year ban imposed by Bradbury.

Bradbury declined comment about the suit Wednesday morning because he had not received a copy of the petition, he said.

Snodgrass said $4,000 was the most he could sue for in small claims court.

“The judge found me innocent, and [Bradbury] had no right to act as judge and jury,” Snodgrass said. “I wish I could find a lawyer to take my case, because I’d like to sue him for a lot more than $4,000 in a different court, My freedom means something to me, as it does to all veterans.”

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