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Posted: March 19, 2013 3:43 p.m.

Complaint by Meadors wont be investigated

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission has found no probable cause to investigate claims made against former Alcovy High School principal LaQuanda Carpenter by Newton County Board of Education member Jeff Meadors.

Meadors filed his complaint as a private citizen, not as a school board member, in January. The complaint followed months of legal back and forth beginning in the spring of 2012, between Carpenter and Meadors; Carpenter accused Meadors of either being an anonymous poster or telling others information to post about her on stories on the Newton Citizen website.

After initially suing 11 anonymous commenters, Carpenter amended her lawsuit to include only Meadors’ name; Meadors was never proven to be a commenter and the lawsuit was eventually dropped by Carpenter.

Carpenter accused all of those in the lawsuit of libel and defamation after accusations were made of Carpenter misusing school club funds and either purchasing or consuming alcohol on a school band trip to Florida in 2010.

In June 2012, Newton County School Superintendent Gary Mathews launched an investigation into the accusations against Carpenter. On June 22, 2012, Mathews issued a statement saying that five of the six people who were present during the trip said Carpenter neither purchased nor consumed alcohol while on the trip. Additionally, he said that in regards to the missing funds, “clearly school officials should have kept better records in this particular account. That said, there is no evidence to suggest that any particular individual deliberately misused or misappropriated funds.”

Meadors has said in a previous story that he filed an ethics complaint with the Professional Standards Commission following information he obtained in discovery documents during the lawsuit, which Carpenter dismissed in October 2012, because she believed it was “preventing us as a community from moving forward and reaching our greatest potential.”

She and her husband, former school system deputy superintendent for operations Dennis Carpenter, were released from their contracts early in February; Dennis Carpenter left to accept a position as a superintendent in Missouri.

On March 14, the Professional Standards Commission board — a group of appointed educators and business professionals — found no probable cause to investigate Meadors’ complaints against Carpenter. According to chief investigator John Grant, “The complaint is sealed and expunged and it will not be investigated.”

“As I am sure the PSC advised you, the contents of the complaint are confidential,” said Meadors in an email Tuesday. “That said, the complaint bears full and complete veracity. My intent was not that the PSC investigate; my attorney did that. I wanted the PSC to have documents on file related to unreconciled taxpayer dollars, among other matters. I am elated at the outcome as the complaint, filed Jan. 23, prefaced personnel changes within days that I believe will have a positive impact on local student achievement.”

LaQuanda Carpenter declined to comment.

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