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Sharp Words From Teachers at King/McInerney Trial

Sharp Words From Teachers at King/McInerney Trial


Monday's testimony in the trial of Brandon McInerney, charged with killing gay California teen Lawrence King, was highly charged, with some teachers placing blame with King's lesbian assistant principal for not taking more action before the February 2008 shooting.

Susan Crowley, King's seventh-grade special education teacher, said she doubted the truth of some of the previous testimony of former assistant principal Joy Epstein, reports the Ventura County Star. Epstein said that school officials were actively dealing with the issues related to King, who was being teased by fellow students for wearing high-heeled boots and makeup. Epstein also testified that not many teachers had complained to her about King's attire. Crowley herself had, at one point, asked King to remove a pink scarf he was wearing.

"It is impossible for any sentient being not to know," Crowley said, referring to teachers being concerned about King's dress and the students' response to it. "Every conversation I had with an adult leading up to his death was about Larry's behavior."

Crowley testified that Epstein, who is gay, empowered King to be himself at E.O. Green Middle School in Oxnard, Calif. Debi Goldstein, an eighth-grade math teacher who had McInerney in her class, echoed Crowley's statements, saying Epstein should have been aware that teachers were worried about the explosive situation between King and other students, especially McInerney.

Some of the most shocking testimony came from seventh-grade teacher Shirley Brown. She also accused of Epstein of not handling the situation properly; Brown also admitted telling King to wash off his makeup and doing nothing when she saw King being chased by a group of boys. Brown did say that she warned the school's principal that something horrible could happen if action was not taken.

"My comment was that if something wasn't done soon, Larry would be taken behind the back shed of the P.E. area and be beaten to death," Brown said. "I said something to the effect of, 'Gay rights? What about the rights of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who come here and are not ready for this information?'

Prosecutor Maeve Fox brought up a union grievance that Epstein had lodged against Brown for alleged homophobic and anti-Semitic comments. The grievance was dismissed the next day, and Brown said in court that the situation was a big misunderstanding.

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