At a sworn deposition Thursday, self-proclaimed blogger Shannon Black admitted that most of her online claims concerning the Newton County School system originated from unverified emails sent to her by a former school employee.
Black, a Rockdale resident, is a key figure in the ongoing civil suit filed by Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter against several anonymous bloggers from the Newton Citizen's website and Newton County School Board District 1 representative Jeff Meadors. To date, Black is the only blogger to admit her true identity. The deposition took place in the office of Stephanie Lindsey, who is representing Carpenter in the case.
During the deposition, Black said she has only had limited previous contact with Meadors, which contradicts claims made in the suit. That contact occurred more than a year ago when Meadors assisted Black with an issue she had at her daughter's middle school, she said. At that time, Black lived in District 3, which is represented by Shakila Henderson-Baker. Black said she turned to Meadors on the advice of "people she knew" after Henderson-Baker said Black was being "dramatic."
She said that Meadors helped her with the bullying situation her daughter was experiencing and then invited her to meet him at his office at Georgia Perimeter College to talk about the incident. This was the only time she had contact with Meadors, she said, and that she has not spoken to him since.
On Facebook, Black has had contact with Meadors, wishing him a Merry Christmas in 2010 on his Facebook wall and him on hers just prior to that, thanking her for a holiday card.
Black also said she has been to only one Board of Education meeting - roughly two years ago - and was not involved in any PTA or volunteering at her child's school, nor was she in any civic organizations. Black currently lives in Rockdale County and her daughter is no longer enrolled in Newton County schools.
Black said under oath that she had no communication and does not know former AHS teacher Kevin Dockery. However, on Facebook, Black is friends with Dockery and has been since May of this year. She was also asked if she knew Newton County School System Director of Public Relations Sherri Davis-Viniard (who she admitted to knowing of, but never communicating with) and Meadors' GPC secretary Julie Locicero.
She reiterated that she had blogged under the names KBeet and MsLoy, as well as her own name. When Lindsey asked Black about her initial blog under the pseudonym KBeet, regarding a Kiwanis issue, Black said, chuckling, that she received the information from "people I know." When Lindsey pushed her on whom the person was that had given her the information, Black balked, but only briefly.
"I'm not here to tell people's names," Black said, but then later admitted "There's been emails sent to me and I copy and pasted them... It was Sonya Dawkins."
Black said that Dawkins had been a substitute teacher at AHS but was not any longer following a "confrontation with someone."
According to open.georgia.gov, Dawkins was a special education paraprofessional in the 2010 and 2011 school years.
Black said that the emails she had received all came from Dawkins, some of which had been forwarded to her and she sent them along to Black, and that she posted the contents of them without being asked to do so and without regard as to the validity of them. She also said that she had reported the lawsuit to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - something that she had previously blogged about - but that the return email, along with all those allegedly sent to her from Dawkins, had been deleted. She has also alleged that LaQuanda Carpenter called her and that she had an audio recording of it. During the deposition however, she said that while she did have an audio recording she "didn't say for sure that it ever was [Carpenter]," adding that "I don't even know her."
Additionally, she said that the claim made on the blogs that her profiles for MsLoy and KBeet were made on an elected official's computer were false.
"Is it safe to say there is no truth to a lot of statements you made under your own name?" asked Lindsey.
"Yes, ma'am," Black replied. Later adding, "I came out and told you who I was 'cause I know I did wrong."
Black denied being any of the other bloggers, including HenryCounselor and Satan69. When asked for her personal email, she told Lindsey it was shannonblack69. She also said under oath that she would not be posting comments any longer.