A hearing date has been set for Clayton County Board of Education Member Trinia Garrett, who stands accused of downloading pornography from more than 60 web sites onto a computer assigned to her by the school district.
In a special called meeting, on Tuesday, board members agreed to set Garrett’s hearing before the board, for Monday, Jan. 23. Garrett, along with board member Alieka Anderson, was not in attendance at that meeting.
Garrett said her reason for not attending was because she was exhausted from all the attention surrounding the investigation of the accusations against her.
“I called and told [the board] I was not coming,” said Garrett, “I’m really sick and tired. This is just a distraction from [Superintendent Edmond Heatley] –– leave me out of it.”
In a previous statement, Garrett said the accusations she is facing grew out of an earlier investigation launched in an effort to try to discover the source of rumors being circulated about Heatley.
The rumors, which have been vehemently denied by Heatley –– and denounced by School Board Chairperson Pam Adamson –– allege that Heatley was having an inappropriate relationship with a female, school district employee.
Adamson could not be reached for comment, Wednesday.
Earlier, however, Adamson declined to respond to Garrett’s allegation that the charge against her is a distraction from other problems, but did say that the investigation that revealed the inappropriate material on the computer assigned to Garrett, derived from an investigation earlier this year, begun by the school system’s attorney.
Garrett said, Wednesday, that she was not aware board members would be discussing her case at Tuesday’s meeting. She added that it was her understanding that board members were only discussing a student tribunal.
“I did not know my name was on the agenda,” she said. “I got the package [meeting agenda] the day before the meeting –– but, I just did not look at it.”
Board Member Jessie Goree said she called Garrett to let her know of what took place at Tuesday’s meeting. “The agenda was in the package,” said Goree, “and from my understanding, all the [board members] got an e-mail.”
During a Dec. 5 board meeting, members voted to give Garrett 30 days to prepare to defend herself, and to show that she did not download the pornographic material –– before they take action against her.
Goree said the Jan 23 hearing that has been set for Garrett should give her plenty of time to get her case together.
So far, Garrett said, she has only sought advice from family members and State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta). “The only advice I gave [Garrett],” Fort said Wednesday, “was to consult an attorney.”
Garrett said she is a little agitated the hearing date is on the same day as her sister’s birthday, because she had plans to celebrate with her. “I was planning on singing happy birthday to my sister,” she said.
Nonetheless, Garrett –– who has indicated that it may have been possible for someone to hack into her computer and download the offensive material –– said she will be prepared to present her case before the school board on Jan. 23.
“I will be prepared –– you best believe that,” she said, emphatically.