Trustee accuses school superintendent of spreading ‘false’ reports
Trustee Kevin Child is fighting back against restrictions on his access to Clark County School District facilities in a “cease-and-desist” letter sent to Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky.
June 19, 2017 - 5:34 pm
Updated June 19, 2017 - 10:44 pm
Trustee Kevin Child is fighting back against restrictions on his access to Clark County School District facilities, accusing Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky of “knowingly repeating false or grossly exaggerated reports” about Child’s behavior.
A cease-and-desist letter Child sent to Skorkowsky earlier this month through an attorney also hints that Child might sue if the superintendent does not stop such behavior.
“What he’s doing is very unprofessional,” Child told the Review-Journal on Monday.
The counterattack came in response to a new letter from Skorkowsky to the embattled trustee, who has been restricted from certain district facilities amid accusations that he has created a hostile and intimidating work environment for employees.
The letter, sent May 31, reiterates guidelines Skorkowsky placed on Child in December that require him to receive a written invitation to visit schools — outside of public events — or administrative offices.
Told to use side door
But it also adds new provisions. The letter states he is allowed to visit parts of the Edward Greer Education Center, where the School Board meets, but may enter only through the east side entrance directly into the board conference room. He also cannot enter the office of human resources without permission from the superintendent, the letter said.
Child can also access portions of the district’s administrative offices off West Sahara Avenue and will be escorted out when he is ready to leave, it said.
“You may not call or text any CCSD employees directly,” Skorkowsky’s letter said, before spelling out a few exceptions. “These individuals will obtain for you information and documents that you request to perform your duties as a trustee.”
Child said he issued a cease-and-desist letter to Skorkowsky through attorney Gary Guymon after receiving the superintendent’s latest communique.
His response, which Child provided to the Review-Journal in a text message Monday, argues that Skorkowksy has been enticing, coercing or harassing staff members to make damaging statements about Child.
“These statements, at your behest, are inaccurate and portray him in a false light,” the letter states. “Furthermore, it has been reported that you are knowingly repeating false or grossly exaggerated reports of instances involving Trustee Child, with the foreseeable result of causing him emotional distress and damage to his reputation.”
The letter warns that Skorkowsky could face civil liability if he does not stop such behavior.
“It is apparent that your actions are motivated by personal animus and bad faith and exceed the course and scope of your employment,” the warning states.
Guymon could not be reached for comment Monday. His office said he was out of town.
Skorkowsky did not return a call for comment. District spokeswoman Melinda Malone confirmed that Skorkowsky received the letter June 7.
Additional employee complaints
In a statement, the district said Skorkowsky’s letter gave Child further direction on interactions with employees after it received additional employee complaints.
“The district cares about providing a safe and respectful working environment for employees,” the statement said, noting that the district had already given Child direction in letters from 2016 and 2017.
The letters are the latest friction between Child and the school district, which received complaints about his behavior around staff and students dating back to before his election in 2014. A district investigation of Child concluded that he created a hostile and intimidating work environment, causing anxiety among female employees, who labeled him “weird” or “creepy.”
The Review-Journal sued to obtain copies of such complaints after a public records request was not fulfilled. So far, the district has released more than 28 documented complaints, incident reports or email threads about Child.
Child has consistently argued that the complaints are an attack on him because he is asking tough financial questions of the district. He has since called for a forensic audit of the district’s finances, noting that his questions on expenditures have been unanswered.
“There’s a lot of stuff that I have grave concerns about,” Child said Monday. “So again, (Skorkowsky) wants to play this childish game.”
Emails between Child and Skorkowsky show that the trustee has asked for financial details on various actions by district employees, including budget transfers approved by upper-level staff. While Skorkowsky wrote that some of those answers were outlined in previous meeting materials, he told Child that other requests need to be brought before the entire board.
“There’s nothing there,” Child said of the accusations against him. “Zero. He’s playing a game. (There’s) nothing there.”
Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at email@example.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.
The latest documents provided to the Review-Journal in its ongoing lawsuit include a concern from a Valley High School mariachi teacher after an out-of-state competition in Texas in February.
Students were reprimanded for an unspecified incident at the competition, and were not permitted to compete in other competitions as a result, records show. The teacher became upset after Child called him during class on his cell phone to ask about the incident.
“I responded, ‘It has been taken care of and dealt with,'” the teacher wrote in a statement dated March 30. “He said no, you and (the Valley High principal) did not follow protocol. He then said expect a phone call from Dr. Barton (Chief Academic Officer Mike Barton) and tell the truth, exactly what happened.”
Child said he inquired about the incident because parents were calling him, asking him why their students were being disciplined.
“Parents weren’t told anything, not until way after,” he said. “Until it was brought to my attention.”
Not all of the emails regarding Child are negative. One former School Board Student Advisory Committee member wrote last July that Child was loving and caring. The former student’s support of Child came amid public criticism of the trustee over controversial Facebook posts, including one that asked people if they would run over protesters.
“Please let him know that he will always be inspiring students, whether or not he takes that (slightly ridiculous) plea to resign,” the person wrote in an email to then-School Board President Linda Young.
— Amelia Pak-Harvey