for 1 FEB 05: P-E-O'D
It had been months since I'd seen the name of Ashley Powell anywhere - the woman who coached Columbus High School to the state girls' basketball finals last year. The single guy in me was especially happy I hadn't seen her name in the "engagements" or "weddings" section of the newspaper.
So imagine my surprise Monday to find Ashley Powell's name in a very unlikely place: the computer of federal court. If you were out of town over the year-end holidays, you may have missed Powell filing a sex discrimination lawsuit against Muscogee County Schools. She probably HAD to do this during winter break, because there are no papers to grade then.
Ashley Powell taught physical education at Eddy Middle School, while coaching basketball at Columbus High. The lawsuit claims Columbus High promised her the next available P-E position, but she was passed over several times for men. At least you can't say this school bases its hiring on looks alone...
In one case, the lawsuit notes a phys-ed opening that occurred when Columbus High's football coach left in 2000. Instead of giving that position to Ashley Powell, the school filled it with a man. Apparently there was no interest in someone who can teach leaping to block field goals.
Ashley Powell goes on to contend while male coaches at Columbus High School had large offices, her "office" was nothing but a storage room. She claims it had no telephone, TV set or computer. Or as some teenagers might say - "Wireless?! Cool!"
Ashley Powell's discrimination suit cites all the trips she had to make between Eddy Middle and Columbus High School. If she's entitled to damages for that, imagine how much all the magnet school students could get.
Ashley Powell is represented in her federal discrimination suit by Atlanta's "Reddy Law Firm." How curious. That's Reddy as in Helen - as in "I Am Woman, hear me roar...."
In a BLOG EXCLUSIVE, we have the Muscogee County School District's official response to Ashley Powell's lawsuit. The document filed in federal court denies any discrimination, and says Powell would have been treated the same way had she been male or female. So they make false promises to ALL employees?!
The Muscogee County School District claims immunity from damages in Ashley Powell's lawsuit. So do two co-defendants,
Columbus High Principal Susan Bryant and Athletic Director James Wamble. About the only person who might have to pay is the Eddy Middle School Principal, for not lending Powell a TV set.
The school district's response also notes other Columbus High coaches have to drive there from other Muscogee County schools. Maybe if those coaches car-pooled in some football players, the head coach's position wouldn't have come open a few years ago.
The Ashley Powell lawsuit demands Muscogee County give her a high school physical education teacher's job with back pay. In the eantime, she's coaching and teaching in Manchester - were hopefully the school district reimburses her gas, so it doesn't wind up in court as well.
E-MAIL UPDATE: For a change, we actually have a "feel-good" letter to the blog:
I just wanted to say thanks for a wonderful web page. I was born and raised in Columbus but I am now in school in Dallas, Texas, and your blog is the only way I am able stay up to date with the goings on in C-Town, oh how I miss Dee Armstrong and Wayne Bennett. The local news out here just doesn't compare to the good times I have had with the WTVM crew. So thanks for being my news source, when I call my parents I can be up to date on the latest happenings. Looking forward to future posts.
You're welcome, Frank - but exactly what sort of "good times" at WTVM are you talking about? Are you aware Patty Pan moved to a station in Charlotte?
It's amazing to learn the "local news" in Dallas doesn't compare to what you can see on TV here. You'd think the Cowboy cheerleaders would need off-season jobs....
(BLOGGER'S NOTE: I'm holding this nice e-mail as close to me as I can - because wait until you see the pile of critical e-mails I'll sort through Wednesday....)
Now other notes from the last day of "tsunami tax deduction" season:
+ Former Muscogee County Marshal Ken Suddeth signed a consent agreement, to turn over dozens of items he may have bought with county funds. You'll be thrilled to know Suddeth returned those blue strobe lights from the Marshal's car - so the weekend sale at the pawn shop must be over.
(Ken Suddeth reportedly bought several leather jackets with Marshal's Department money. If he had bought hunting jackets for tracking down poachers, we might understand.)
+ The Habitat for Humanity board fired founder Millard Fuller. I'd say they're putting Fuller out to pasture - but I think Koinonia in Sumter County really is more like a farm...
+ A rally at the Georgia state capitol supported a bill requiring pickup truck drivers to wear seatbelts. I've wondered for years why pickups are exempt from the state seatbelt law. Do the drivers really think they're as "Ram-tough" as their trucks?
+ My beloved Kansas Jayhawks rallied from an eight-point deficit at halftime to mash arch-rival Missouri 73-61. It's just our way of creating jobs - such as the one which could open if Missouri coach Quin Snyder is fired.
+ Instant Message to the man I saw at the St. Luke Ministry Center gym in a coat and tie, holding a cell phone in one hand and a basketball in the other: Drop the phone and you might be a coach. Drop the ball, and I'll believe you're a sports agent.
COMING SOON: How the September 11th attack saved a well-known Columbus man's job....
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