Last update at 11:06 a.m.
(NOTE: LIVE TESTIMONY HAS BEEN COMPLETED)
The tenth day of testimony from the Calvin Ellis personnel hearing will begin shortly.
One note left over from yesterday. The witness who turned in testimony via affadavit was Whitney Williams. He is president of the schoocer booster club. His testimony stated that Tupelo school administrators had not accompanied the Tupelo High School soccer team on its over night and out of town trips in past years. One of the contentions made against Ellis during this hearing is that he did not have school administrators with him on an out of town trip to Birmingham last year, in violation of district policy.
Williams gave his testimony via affadavit because of his busy schedule. He said he is available for cross examination if the district chooses to call him.
Calvin Ellis has taken the witness stand and we will begin shortly.
Jim Keith begins the cross examination.
Keith refers to the embarrassment Ellis said he felt as a result of his dismissal. He said that when Jim Turner and David Meadows met with you on Oct. 28 did they tell you that you had a right to a hearing that could be public or private.
Ellis said no.
Are you testifying here today that neither of them told you that you had the right to a private hearing?
Ellis: They told me it was a public hearing and they highly encouraged me to resign.
You recall nothing about them telling you that it could be private?
Ellis: There was none of that discussed.
KeithL You never asked for it to be closed?
Ellis: I never knew beforehand that it could be a closed hearing.
Ellis said after the condoms and bananas had been discussed he asked Compton if he could have a closed hearing. He was told that at that time he could, but after that the damage had been done.
Keith asks Ellis about him having the charges published in the newspaper. Ellis said that is correct.
Keith asked if the district had publicized the charges other than that. Ellis said that it hadn’t.
Keith refers to a four-hour meeting that Ellis had with David Meadows after Ellis was placed on leave. Keith said that Ellis used that meeting to make charges against other employees rather than talk about charges against him.
Ellis said that meeting was called because he was unsure why he was placed on leave. He said he didn’t know the true reason why he was placed on leave.
Keith: You spoke for a majority of that time from a document that is exhibit 2 and was 10 pages long.
Ellis said that is correct, he spoke from that document.
Keith said the 10-pages in that document were complaints against other individuals but was not about the Friday night incident.
Ellis said it was documentation he had been keeping throughout the year. He said he had talked to Jason Harris about it on Oct. 5 but he hadn’t previously spoken to district officials about it.
Keith said Meadows told Ellis he would investigate the charges Ellis had made. Ellis had another meeting with district officials for about an hour and a half.
Keith asked if Ellis provided a written response to district officials after his termination.
Ellis said he didn’t. He said when he was told about his termination, he was not told he could provide a written response. He was told he could have a hearing and that it would be public. If he knew he could provide a written response and it would make a difference, he said he would have done that.
Butts objects by saying he made a response as Ellis’ attorney.
Keith: You didn’t provide a written or an oral response.
Ellis: I tried to provide an oral response (at that meeting) but was not allowed.
Keith refers to the curfew law.
Keith asks if any parent gave Ellis permission to take their kids to Walmart. Ellis said the parents gave him permission to have the students at his house but they did not give specific permission to go to Walmart.
Keith asks about permission to go to the Whitwell house and to go on a pranking event. Ellis gives similar answers. He said they gave permission to go to his house and he took that as permission to encompass all of those acitivities.
Keith: What permission did they give you Mr. Ellis.
Ellis: There is no specific permission. But you heard the testimony of those parents that it was OK for them to go with me to Walmart.
Keith: You called parents of kids to give you retroactive permission?
Ellis said no. He said he sent an email from his attorney to the parents asking if he had their permission to be with the kids.
Keith: That was done last week, that was not done prior to the event.
Ellis said yes. He said it was a social event and they did not have permission for anything.
Keith: Are you testifying you did not call any parents or students last week about this issue.
Ellis: I did not call any student about this issue.
Keith: Did you call parents
Ellis: I emailed parents.
Keith: Did you call a parent
Ellis: I don’t remember
Keith: Did you try to call a student who refused to take your call?
Keith refer to the curfew law. When a minor accompanied by an adult or accompanied by (a person designated by the parent, is with a student for a designated period of time). Keith asks if there was a designated period of time. Ellis said there was no parent that gave him specific permission to accompany the students to Walmart.
Keith: If you look at exemption 2, that doesn’t really apply to you does it?
Ellis: I think it does.
Keith: You testified that when the boys went to prank the girls house, you stayed in the car. You also remember that the mother said she thought you were supervising them.
I did not want to participate in the prank. I was not supervising them doing the prank. I was supervising them around the town, making sure they weren’t loud, I told them not to be loud in the neighborhood. I wasn’t watching them do the prank.
Keith: Do you know that the boys cleaned up the mess after they left the Whitwell home?
Ellis: They used shaving cream and the Vaseline that was on the cars. I need to clarify one thing, the bananas were smeared on….
Keith objects saying that he can’t go into yesterday’s testimony.
Compton said he can’t do that unless it is related to a question that was asked, Butts can address it on redirect.
Ellis said the question was related to the mess. He said the bananas were smeared on the window. He said the condoms were picked up because he made them pick them up.
Keith: You testified yesterday it was not necessary for you to get permission to arrange the songs for the Wave Connection show.
Ellis: I don’t think that was my testimony. I understand that as an arranger, I needed to get permission.
Keith: Was your testimony yesterday, there was no reason for you to have obtained permission for the arrangements prior to going forward with the performance…..When you said, ‘Now I know that I didn’t even need to do what I was trying to do.’ You had three different categories of songs: Steve Anderson with contracts, yourself and then some other arrangers. I want to know what you meant by your statement when you said it wasn’t necessary to have gotten permissions I was trying to get.
Ellis: Many of the songs we were trying to perform were done by arrangers without a contract for hire. Several of those songs could have been performed. I did say I was responsible for the songs I had arranged. The Steve Anderson songs I was trying to get permission for those.
Keith: Are you saying it wasn’t necessary to postpone the performance.
Ellis said he doesn’t think it was necessary because many of those songs had been arranged by other arrangers. He knows he needed to get permissions. He said there should have and could have been a show but there was not.
Ellis said I remember her saying it was a good idea to get permission.
Keith: She said it is necessary to obtain permission for every customized version of a copyright work that you disseminate?
Ellis said yes.
Keith: she said that making a customized arrangement and disseminating it without permission could be a civil matter
Ellis said yes.
Keith said that she also said that reproduction and dissemination of an unauthorized work could be a felony.
Ellis said that she also said that most publishers don’t want to do that if you are seeking permission.
Keith: Your own expert while saying it is in best interest of publishers to work with those who are seeking copyrights….When she said reproduction and dissemination of an unauthorized work could be a felony, that was the same thing Mark Greenburg told you.
Ellis said that her testimony and his statement were different.
Ellis is given a copy of DeSalvo’s testimony. Keith reads where it says that it can be a felony if a certain dollar amount is met and a certain number of copies are disseminating.
Keith: You don’t disagree with what your expert said?
Ellis said no, he doesn’t disagree.
Keith asks if the witness said that it can be a violation to disseminate songs for which proper permission hadn’t been obtained.
Ellis said yes.
Keith said that for any songs you arranged, you would need to get permission.
Ellis: She also stated that any arranger can go back and fix that. At the time I didn’t know I needed permission for any arrangement I did, but I know that and I can fix it.
Keith: That is assuming that the rights holder agrees to fix that, there is no assurance?
Ellis said yes, but she also said that at no time is the district liable.
Keith said that we will go back to that, that is not exactly what she said.
Keith refers Ellis to contract with Steve Anderson. He said that for the songs arranged by Ellis, it was the duty of him on behalf of Tupelo High School (because he signed for THS). She said it was duty of you on behalf of Tupelo High School to submit one copy of the score to the attention of the copyright department for approval of the music and copyright permission.
Keith: You never did that for these three songs did you?
Ellis said he thinks Terri Stewart did that.
Keith: By the time you postponed the show, you hadn’t done that.
Ellis: said no. He said that Terri Stewart sent the check. (He said that she sent the copy of the score but that she had done so after the show was postponed)
I remember Ms. Ramona testified this is just the formality Hal Leonard uses to do its business. The boosters paid for this. It says Tupelo High School licensee, but you can get licenses without Tupelo High School. The boosters paid for this, but it doesn’t make Tupelo High School liable.
Keith: Nowhere on this document is the booster club. It says Tupelo High School.
Keith: As of the day you postponed the performance, you had not done what paragraph 5 said.
Ellis: Technically no, I had not.
Keith: Not technically, you hadn’t done it.
Ellis: No, but I thought when we sent the check off on Sept. 8, we were good to go.
Keith: Are you saying that even if you had never received a signed contract from Cherry Lane music, it would have been OK to go ahead with the performance of these three songs.
Ellis: I do for one reason. Steve Anderson submitted his, I call it an invoice. Did we enter into a contract for hire with him, I’m not sure we did that. In that case, it would have been OK to go forward.
Keith: I am just talking about this contract. Are you saying it would have been OK to go forward despite what paragraph 5 said.
Butts objects, saying Ellis is not a lawyer. Keith said that Ellis testified yesterday that he know understands the law.
Compton, can you answer about your understanding.
Ellis: I understand that the show could have gone on. The fact of the matter is we mailed a check. At some point, these songs were given to the copyright company as asked for in number 5. Absolutely we could have gone on with the show.
Keith: AS of Sept. 29, if you hadn’t performed paragraph 5, is it your understanding it would still be OK to go forward with the show with those three songs.
Keith: You remember (your expert testified she would not advise going ahead with the show without following the details of this contract).
Butts objects saying are we talking about disseminating to the students are a performance, there is a difference.
Keith said he is asking if Ellis remembers DeSalvo saying she would not advise disseminating to her students without (following the contract)
Ellis said yes
Keith asks and Ellis said he did disseminate it to the students and choreographers over the summer. Ellis said that is the way he had always done it and this is the first time he had dealt with this. He said that DeSalvo said he could retroactively go back and get the permissions and that is what he was trying to do.
Keith: You disseminated the music that had been arranged prior to the execution of the Hal Leonard contract?
Ellis said yes
Keith: You also understand now that that is a violation of copyright law.
Ellis: It was a violation of copyright law on my behalf and I can go back and make sure permissions were granted.
Keith: Assuming the rights holder would grant that permission?
Ellis: Yes, assuming the rights holder would cooperate, but she said it is in the best interest of the rights holder to cooperate.
Keith: That also assumes the rights holder agrees not to sue you? (going back and getting retroactive permission assumes that)
Keith: You testified when you went to Hal Leonard website in April, you knew you had to pay to get permission to those songs. Ellis said yes. Keith said you didn’t sign a contract with Steve Anderson until Septmeber. Ellis said yes but he has something he sends out to directors with what songs he will do. It appears to be a contract for hire, but it was not signed by both parties.
Keith: You went online to obtain the contracts for permission to arrange for the Steve Anderson songs?
Ellis: Yes but after that you wait until you receive permission….Steve Anderson gave me the arrangements early because we were having our normal choreography meeting…
Keith: Prior to you receiving this document dated Aug. 7, which is a contract on Cherry Lane Music head, you did nothing with regard to ensuring the proper permission was to be obtained on these three songs?
Ellis: I did submit the songs and I was waiting for this as it came Aug. 22. We started choreography (In July)
Keith asks if Ellis had any follow-up conversations with Anderson to ensure proper permission was obtained.
Ellis said he spoke with Anderson in June and July. He said he doesn’t remember specifically the conversations but they talked about the status of these.
Keith: Did you inquire whether you had permissions prior to this contract?
Ellis said he does not remember the conversations.
Keith: You said you contacted Jeremy Alferra but you didn’t get a straightforward answer about permission to arrange. Ellis said he was trying to understand his process and why he had never asked for this before.
Keith: In spite of not getting a straight forward answer, you stuck with him and you had no idea who was going to get permission for those songs.
Ellis said he did not know, but as Ms. Ramona testified he was the one responsible for getting permission so those songs could have been performed.
Keith said that at the time you didn’t know. Ellis said that is why he postponed the show.
Ellis said he spoke with Ron Jones, asked David Alderman what was going on and why certain arrangers ask for this and others don’t. Alderman told him that a lot of arrangers don’t deal with it. He said he went to all of the arrangers even though it was uncomfrortable because that is what he was told to do.
Keith: What communication did you have with Ron Jones about who would get permission for songs he was arranging.
Ellis: I had a phone conversation with him. I don’t remember the specifics
Keith: What did Ron Jones tell you about who was going to be responsible for getting permission. Ellis said the conversation wasn’t about the songs he was going to arrange and permissions. He talked to him about the past and why Jones didn’t require him to do it.
Keith asks about conversation with arranger Megan Glecker. Ellis said it was email correspondence with her. Ellis said she said that he needed to get permission, or the school would, but there was no contract for hire with her.
Keith: Did you do anything regarding getting permission for the songs Megan Glecker asked you to get permission for?
Ellis said he remembers submitting that song to Tresona?
Keith: But you never had permission as of Sept, 29?
Ellis said he does not recall.
Keith asks about Virgina Silouettes. Ellis said he tried to get an arrangement from that group, but he never did.
Ellis said he submitted it (to Tresona) because he wanted to do that song but he never ended up getting it arranged. Ellis said it was a pre-arranged piece of music.
Keith: What about Jeff Bowen?
Ellis: Jeff Bowen did rent and it was a pre-approved arrangement so I submitted that song as well.
Ellis said he had a conversation with Jeff Bowen and he said that he would get permission for it.
Ellis said that he still submitted every song he wanted to do. “I guess it was both of us covering our bases.
Ellis said he had no written agreement with Jones, Glecker or Bowen.
Keith: In spite of your knowledge that Steve Anderson required you to get permission to arrange through a written agreement, you didn’t get a written agreement with (the others)
Ellis: I did not have any written contract or written agreement with any arragener. With Steve Anderson, there was no agreement, there were no titles on those songs and it was not signed by either party. He said he is talking about the written agreement prior to making the arrangement.
He said he submitted the songs for Steve Anderson on the website. He said that Anderson was planning to do six songs even though he only submitted four to Hal Leonard.
Ellis said it wasn’t signed, it was like an invoice. The invoice didn’t have any songs listed on it.
Keith: The fact that you had Steve Anderson who directed you to a contractual arrangement to determine who would get permission to arrange and then you had Ron Jones who you didn’t ask who would get permission to arrange and Megan Glecker who said you needed to get permission to arrange. Did that not raise a question in your mind that to make sure for any song you were going to perform, you had proper arrangment.
Butts objects and Keith restates.
Keith: You were working with arrangers. One needed a contract, one you didn’t ask who was responsible for getting permission and one emailed you that you needed to get permission to arrange.
Ellis: As you can see, all of these arrangers had no clue what they were doing, as I did not. That is why I spent time trying to educate myself. It did raise questions and I tried to figure it out. It took me a while to figure it out and then I found out that that was even wrong. That is why I submitted every song for approval. That is why I ended up cancelling the song to give us more time..
Keith: As of Sept. 29, you never asked the principal or the distirct’s legal counsel to give you help?
Ellis: No, I was trying to figure this out on my own.
Keith: As of the date, the show was postponed, you had not taken steps to get permission for the songs you had arranged.
Ellis said he had submitted those to Tresona.
Keith: You had not received permission?
Ellis said he had received clearance. He said he didn’t understand the terminology between cleared and final copyright approval.
Keith: I think the testimony shows that every one of those songs had already been duplicated and disseminated to students?
Ellis said they had
Keith: Those documents did not have the proper copyright language on the first page?
Keith: Now, you also recall that your own expert testified that she would not advise a school district to go forward with music obtained from arrangements in which there had been no permission from rights holders
Butts objects, saying that was not her entire testimony.
Hearing takes a 10-minute break at 9:45 a.m.
Hearing resumes at 9:53 a.m.
Keith refers to transcript. In it he asked DeSalvo if she would advise a school district to go forward with a performance if permissions had not been obtained. DeSalvo said if she knew beforehand, she would not advise them to go forward. She then said a performance would be expempt. But, Keith said, she also said she does not recommend it.
Ellis said if he knew beforehand, he wouldn’t have gone forward with a performance. To me, this makes it seem that she would go forth with a performance because a performance is exempt and we can work afterward to get permission.
Keith: On Sept. 29, you knew you did not have permissions, so you did know beforehand?
Ellis: That is why I went ahead and cancelled the show
Keith: You have no assurance of being able to obtain permissions retroactively for songs you had arranged and had not received permission.
Ellis said no assurance.
Keith asked the same thing about songs by other arrangers. Ellis said the performance would be exempt.
Keith: Are you saying if you knowing used songs for which there was no permission, are you saying there would be no liability on you.
Ellis: I don’t recall her saying that
Keith: There are some songs for which you never get permission, such as those from the Hendrix estate.
Ellis: That is the only song I had trouble on.
Keith: Based on what you know today, would you perform that song anyway? Ellis said he wouldn’t. He said he would replace that with another song.
Keith: You have no assurance a rights holder would not sue you?
Ellis: Based on what I know now, it is in a publisher’s best interest to make money. As Mr. Jordan and Ms.DeSalvo testified, they are not in the business of suing. There is no assurance but there is no case where they sued someone for doing those thing.
Keith: You recall your witnesses testimony that a knowing violation brings a $150,000 fine?
Ellis: But there was no violation. There was no performance.
Keith: What is your understanding of whether a knowing violation would bring a possible $150,000 statutory fine?
Ellis said his understanding is that the arranger would be the direct infringer and he is only responsible for the songs he arranged, but there is no liability on behalf of the district.
Keith: You say that because you say you were (arranging) in your sole role as Calvin Ellis not as Calvin Ellis show choir director. Ellis said yes.
Keith: If you were going to do it over again, are you saying on Sept. 29, you would have gone forward with the performance any way.
Ellis; Knowing what I know now, that the students could have had the opportunity to do the show and present their hard work to the community at no violation to the school and I would encourage the arrangers including myself to get permission, for the student’s sake there absolutely would have been a show. I may have delayed it, but that is why we are in this, for the student sake.
Keith: For your sake, as an arranger, would you still have gone forward with the show?
Knowing what you know today, would you have gone forward with the songs you had arranged for which you had not received permission?
Ellis: Yes I would have gone ahead and I would have done everything in my power to make sure all of the songs I had arranged would be approved. If they weren’t approved, I may have changed my mind. We still had other songs we could have performed and we would have gone on with the show.
Keith: Would you have allowed the students to perform the songs you arranged and hadn’t gotten permission?
Ellis: Yes I would have but I would have done everything retroactively to get permission. IF we didn’t get permission I might not have used them. I would have tried my best to get permission.
Keith: Had you not received permission, would you go forward with the performance?
Ellis: It is hard to answer yes or no….I postponed the show to allow more time for permissions and I would have continued to perform those songs….Knowing what I know now, I would not have put those songs on the stage if I hadn’t gotten permission. (Said he would have delayed the show to get those permission)
Keith moves to exhibit 31. It is the MS educator code of ethics. Keith said standard 1 talks about professional conduct. 1.1.2 talks about respecting other educators.
Keith: Do you believe in light of what you said in exhibit 2, do you believe you were following that?
Ellis said yes.
Keith talks about exhibit 2 that calls for forthrightness. He asks if Ellis thinks he exhibited that when he talked to boosters about copyright
Ellis said yes.
Keith refers to exhibit 4. Says an educator should maintain a professional relationshp with all students inside and outside of the classroom. He reads examples of specific transgressions such as sexual inneuendo and electronic communication – such as text messaging- with students. Keith asks if he believes Ellis followed that in relation to the Friday event.
Butts objects because none of that is mentioned in the charges.
Keith said that evidence came out about the Friday night event and that can be considered by the board. He asks Ellis if he followed that standard.
Ellis said he did.
Keith refers to standard 5, calls for collegial relationship with collegues. He asks Ellis if he feels he maintained that in light of exhibit 2.
Ellis said he does. He said he believes professional relationships are a two-way street.
Keith goes to exhibit 26. Ellis’ contract for 11-12 school year. Ellis said it is identical to his 10-11 contracts.
Keith said the first page of the contract emcompases both his duties as teacher of music and his supplement as choral director.
Keith: You performed your music teacher duties during school day? Ellis said yes. Keith: You performed your show choir duties, afterschool, evenings and weekends. Is there any time you didn’t perform your show choir duties? Ellis: yes
When did you perform your duties as an arranger? Ellis said during the summer.
Keith: Are you testifying under oath that you enver worked on arranging music during the school day?
Ellis said not to his knowledge
Keith asks if he ever worked on his arrangement while he was working with show choir.
Ellis said not while he was working with students, but sometimes he would change parts that didn’t work.
Keith: You did not ask administration if it would be permissible to charge the booster club for arranging?
Ellis said yes
Keith asks if the arrangements were solely for the Tupelo show choir? Ellis said yes.
Keith: You arranged those songs because you are show choir director, not because you are an independent contractor?
Ellis: I arranged those songs because I am show choir director for Wave Connection and Sound Wave and I wanted to contrubite to their performance.
Keith asks if Ellis arranged songs for any other show choirs. Ellis said no.
Keith: You were performed by your principal you would not be able to go forward with performrnace for songs for which permission had not been given?Ellis said yes.
Keith: Where does it say in your contract that certain work you do for your show choir performance isn’t covered by your contract or your supplement?
Ellis: It doesn’t say that, but supplements in my understanding are put in place for the time you spend with students outside of school hours. We pay other outside arrangers. I would never expect arrangement to put expected of me as part of my supplement.
Keith: Who made decision of which arrangers to hire?
Ellis: I made the decision
Keith: You were in effect recommending yourself to the booster club?
Ellis: For years I had taken other arrangers work and adapted it to the program. I thought I could do other arrangements for the program that would be cheaper. The budget for arranging was $10,000. We would hire arrangers and the arrangement would be wrong and we would have to spend $1,000 on one song to redo. I did start that process and the boosters agreed.
Keith: The amount of money you billed the booster club over a two-year period of time was approximately $10,000.
Ellis said he does not recall the approximate amount. He said he knows it is over $8,000.
Keith refers to exhibit 15. District policy for staff conflict of interest. It says that no employee will use their position to obtain pecuniary benefit for themselves.
Keith said number 2 says prohibited activities. 2.9. One of the activities is using his or her position to influence purchase of goods or services from a school, booster club, etc.
Ellis: I wouldn’t agree that I tried to do that to help myself. I was actually trying to benefit the school.
Keith: You just testified you received in excess of $8,000 benefit and at the same time you did that, you were the show choir director?
Ellis: I was
Keith: Yesterday you testified you were concerned about kids being bullied and forced to sing. Didn’t Mr. Meadows ask you to sign a letter asking the kids in the two show choirs to cooperate.
Ellis said that is not all the letter said.
Ellis is given a copy of the letter. It is dated Oct. 18. It says due to fact that copyright permissions have not been obtained, permission has been postponed, In the meantime, we ask for you to all work hard in class. It would have been signed by Ellis and Jason Harris
Keith asks You refused to sign the letter?
Ellis said he did. He was uncomfortable with the fact that they were putting copyright permissions as what was going on with him. He said he would have been glad to sign something asking for the work to go on but he was uncomfortable signing something saying the reason he was not at school was because copyright permission hadn’t been obtained.
Keith: Did you present any amendments?
Ellis: I asked him about rewording the first part of this and I said we could work on it together. There were no more conversations.
Keith: Did you submit a revised version of this letter?
Ellis: They didn’t ask me that.
Keith: You had already sent out an email that the show had been postponed because of copyright permissions, correct?
Keith: You knew it was wrong to tutor your own students during the school day for pay?
Ellis said yes
Keith: You tried to justify it yesterday by saying you only did it twice?
Ellis: I did it twice to help the student
Keith: You stopped because the student’s parent told you it was wrong.
Ellis said she did not tell him it was wrong. He was another employee was talking about it in the community and she warned him to watch his back.
Keith: Yesterday you brought up the Alabama trip and talked about parents asking you to take students to lunch?
Keith: You already said that students could eat in the cafeteria. Ellis said yes
Keith said that by letting them go to the mall, he turned over supervisory responsibility and he could have asked them to say. Ellis said yes.
Keith said that last week when he questioned Ellis if he had talked about the issue with the principal, he testified that the only supervision issue that was brought up was the issue of no staff member being on the bus back to Tupelo.
Ellis said yes and then you showed me a letter referring to supervision issue at a mall. Ellis said he thought he was talking about something else at the mall.
Ellis said he does not recall discussing the issue at the mall with him. He said that he read the letter but the discussion just talked about returning to school without a staff member.
Keith refers to exhibit 74. A March 28 email from Ellis to Stratton. Keith said he wants to email parents about the proper protocol to report a problem. Keith said that is because you knew a parent had reported the incident at the mall.
Ellis said he did know that but the discussion, he was confused about the unsupervised complaint because he was at the mall Friday and Sunday with students who were chaperoned and went in groups. He said he didn’t understand why there was any reporting of supervision. (He said that and the incident at the mall were two separate things).
Keith: Are you saying you were not aware that on Saturday there were students at the mall and you were not.
Ellis said he was aware students were at the mall but he didn’t know there was a supervision problem.
Keith asks if when Ellis discussed the issue with Stratton, whether a mall supervision came up in the discussion.
Ellis said he told Stratton that the allegations of the students being unsupervised at the mall got him upset because there was supervision. But you are talking about another incident at another mall and I wasn’t there.
Ellis said he told boosters if there is a problem with anything please come to him. He said he wants to know the issues….If all these parents are going straight to the top and not saying anything to me, how can I fix these problems?
Keith: Did you approach any of the parents before this email from Lee Stratton?
Ellis said he did not know there was an issue before this email.
Ellis said he can’t remember the actual order of events. He does remember Stratton coming to him and talking about the ride home without an administrator. He said he doesn’t know the time frame.
Keith; How did it come to your attention there was a mall supervision issue that prompted to write this email
Ellis said he doesn’t know. Maybe he had a conversation with Stratton in passing.
Keith: You were upset because you said, “I don’t know why someone would come up with this other than vindictive reasons of their own?”
Keith: Did you think someone was being vindictive by reporting that issue to the administration?
Ellis: I knew I was bothered by the fact that there was a report of unsupervision when I knew there was none. There had been amny incidents that year of people going to higher authorities saying things that werne’t necessarily true.
Keith: Yesterday, you said a student had to cross the street to eat lunch. You don’t know where she was prior to that?
Ellis said he would assume she was at the hotel.
Keith: Do you know whether she was under adult supervision prior to going there?
Ellis said they were in their rooms getting ready for a performance. He does not know if there was a parent outside every single room. You can not watch every single student, every single time, every single event at a hotel.
Keith: I believe you testified you didn’t go outside to supervise students running laps if it was daylight hours. Ellis said that is correct.
Keith: At night time, you supervised them? Ellis yes.
Keith: You obviously didn’t supervise them the entire time they circled the building?
Ellis said you can not supervise every single step but he was outside counting laps.
Keith asks Ellis about statement that Ellis did not know about Petal incident.
Ellis said he did not know about not being asked back. He said he knew there was an incident and that the Petal principal approached him about it but he didn’t know about ruining the reputation.
Keith asks if Ellis informed the Tupelo administration?
Ellis said no because he took care of it and went back and talked to the students. He said he saw Petal parents being rude to them.
Keith: You didn’t think it was important to tell the administartion
At the time I did not think that was important for the principal to know because I dealt with it. I don’t run with the principal for every issue, I try to deal with it. That is what most principals want.
Keith said that Ellis testified yesterday that it was not a matter of being invited to competition, it is a matter of filling out a form. Petal doesn’t have to accept the form does it?
Ellis said no but he had never had an application not be accepted.
Keith asks if Tupelo has gone back to Petal since. Ellis said no but he didn’t want to because of the way they were treated.
Keith asks Ellis about his arrangments and his relationship with the boosters.
Ellis: There were no arrangements that had already been arranged by other people. My arranging project was the very first music project of the school year. When I had to seek other arrangements to fulfill other performance needs, I did not inform (The boosters) because I had done that for years.
Keith asks giving copies of the music to the boosters. Ellis said he wasn’t asked by the boosters for that until this year but that he did provide it to Terri Stewart this year.
Keith asks what the dates were. Ellis said it was August or September. Keith asks if he provided anything prior to that. Ellis said he was never asked prior to that.
Keith refers to exhibit 18, a Tweet..
Keith: Did you have that conversation with the individual who Tweeted that message?
Ellis said it was a Tweet by a student who took a picture of a text message.
Keith: Did you make the statement with anyone that (they couldn’t get a zero for an event that happened outside of school)
Ellis: I had a discussion with this person buecase she informed me that the kids had been builled at school. I tried to give a student a zero for an event at Ole Miss and the administration told me that I couldn’t do that for an event outside of school. I wanted the student to know that.
Ellis said he did not tell her to disseminate that.
Keith said the date of that was Oct. 24. Was that the approximate time you had that conversation?
Ellis said yes
Keith refers to next page that says “Go for it. Tell all WC students and make sure they don’t show up.” Did you also have that conversation?
Ellis said no.
Keith asks about Ellis’ conversation with Whitwell. Ellis said Whitwell called her.
Ellis said he called her prior to him being placed on leave about the incidents on Sept. 30. The conversation in which he infromred her he was palced on leave, she called him.
Keith: After you were placed on leave, did you call Ms. Whitwell?
Keith: After you were placed on leave, you were instructed not to have contact with any TPSD employee but Mr. Turner. He asks about what Mr. Meadows told Ellis about creating a report of his copyright activities.
Ellis said he was told to create a report. HE doesn’t recall him telling him he needed a daily log.
Keith: You don’t recall him giving you a pad and pen and telling you to write down these instructions?
Ellis: I believe he asked me, maybe on the 21, I don’t recall him telling me about every contact. I still have the memo I wrote and I don’t think it said to make a daily log. It was difficult for me to log every conversation because I was in the process of waiting for approval. That is why the report was as extensive as it was because that was all of the work I had been doing.
Keith: You were on full paid leave and he wanted documentation of what you were doing.
Ellis said that is not true and the only thing he was to do daily was to call at 3:00.
Keith: Are you aware your Wave Connection shows for 2009 and 2010 are on YouTube?
Keith is finished with his questions. Butts will begin his redirect shortly.
Butts asks Ellis about his meetings with Jason Harris and David Meadows. He asks whether any of those meetings conformed to district policy about how complaints should be handled about licensed employees
Ellis said no
Butts asks him about a point he said he wanted to clarify from prank night?
Ellis: There has been a great deal of discussion about the use of materials, the condoms and bananas. I think there is a misconception of how those materials were used. The bananas were smashed on the windows. The condoms were thrown on the ground. The Vaseline was on the door handles and the paint was on the windows. I think there is a great misconception about how those materials were used.
Butts: Had you been informed there existed any copyright compliance policy in the district?
Ellis said no. He said no administrator ever came to him and told him there was such a policy.
Butts: You were asked if you sought district advice on legal matters. Have you seen district policy on that? Ellis said no
Butts: Were you ever informed you could go directly to the district legal counsel and ask a question.
Ellis said he was never informed but he did go on one occasion. It was about the Smith Lake trip. They were thinking about taking parent cars to Smith Lake and he was asking for a form that could release them from liability.
Butts: You were asked if you went to your principal about the problems with copyrights, to your knowledge does Mr. Harris have any expertise on that?
Ellis said no.
Compton: I have a question about the condoms, were they taken out of the packages?
Ellis said they were taken out of the packages.
Jim Keith and Kelly Stimpson are conferring about a possible question. They will not ask it. Ellis is done with his testimony.
Keith said the district will submit three affadavits as rebuttal witnesses. They will submit them this afternoon and Butts will have the opportunity to submit counter affadavits.
Compton wants them to file those today and he will talk to Butts about whether he needs counter affadavits. The hearing is now in recess waiting for those affadavits and possible counter affadvits. They will then be in recess until the hearing officer gets a copy of the transcript and is able to prepare his report and get the transcript and report to the school board. He will notify both counsel at that point.
The hearing is done, as far as live witnesses.
When the school board gets its report from Compton, it will have a 30-day window to make a decision. The two lawyers will also make closing statements to the school board sometime within those 30 days.