A Kamehameha SchoolsBy Rick Daysog
staffer describes a talk
with trustee Lindsey
A Kamehameha Schools teacher said she felt intimidated by Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey to change a grade for one of Lindsey's relatives.
In testimony before Circuit Judge Bambi Weil, Collette Akana, a seventh-grade social studies teacher, said Lindsey glared at her and made her feel as if her job were in jeopardy during during a Dec. 19, 1995, meeting.
The meeting was over a failing grade Akana had given to Lindsey's relative, who needed a passing grade to make the school basketball team.
Akana agreed to give the student a break by allowing him to rewrite a paper over the holiday recess.
Akana said she changed the student's grade to a C-minus, even though his rewritten paper appeared to show little effort.
Akana's testimony comes in the second month of the trial in which Lindsey's removal as a trustee is sought. Fellow trustees Gerard Jervis and Oswald Stender have petitioned the state courts for her ouster, saying she mismanaged the estate-run Kamehameha Schools, breached her fiduciary duties and intimidated faculty members and students.
Michael Green, Lindsey's attorney, yesterday questioned Akana's account of the meeting, saying Lindsey never told Akana to change the grade. He said Lindsey simply wanted to meet with Akana to assure the teacher that her relative would do better in class.
Green and lawyer David Gierlach are opposing Lindsey's removal, describing their client as an advocate of educational reform who has been criticized by teachers and administrators who don't want to see change.
Yesterday, Judge Weil also heard testimony from a Kamehameha Schools administrator who said he felt intimidated when questioned over the release of an accreditation report highly critical of trustees' management practices.
Robert Whiting, coordinator of learning centers at the high school, said he was interviewed by two staffers in the school's employee relations department for 2-1/2 hours in July about the release to media of the accreditation report by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Whiting said he was interviewed for an additional 25 minutes in September.
"I felt that I wasn't being believed," said Whiting, who testified that he did not release the report.
"I felt that I was being intimidated in a way."
The WASC team, which granted the school a three-year accreditation instead of the six sought by administrators, faulted trustees for dysfunctional management of the Kamehameha Schools.
Attorneys for Stender and Jervis allege that Lindsey refused to participate and cooperate in the WASC study and initiated an investigation of staffers over alleged leaks of the report.
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