Monday, October 13, 2008

Developing a Fan Base in an Unlikely Place

Legal Schnauzer apparently is developing a fan base in a place I never would have expected to find one--Briarwood Christian High School in Birmingham.

Folks who've followed the blog from the early days know that I suspect Briarwood Christian, a ministry of Briarwood Presybyterian Church, has played a curious role in the legal travails that have beset my wife and me.

Here's the most troubling thing about it: At least a few people in the Briarwood leadership--particularly Head Football Coach and Dean of Students Fred Yancey and chancellor Byrle Kynerd--know the school's actions have caused my wife and me considerable hardship. Do they care? I've seen no signs of it.

Has Briarwood's leadership exhibited a Christian response to our situation? I'm hardly a Biblical scholar, but one of the general themes of the New Testament seems to be this: We should try to treat others as we would like to be treated--and when we bring harm upon others, we should try to make it right.

The role Briarwood apparently has played in our legal woes is summarized here and here. Here is a brief overview: Fred Yancey and his wife, Sharon, used to be our next-door neighbors. In December 1998, days after Briarwood had won its first state championship, they moved to a house on the school's campus, and we wound up with Mike McGarity (and his substantial criminal record) as our new next-door neighbor. The sale of Yancey's house seems to have been done in a peculiar, "under the table" way. It was not listed with the Birmingham MLS (even though a real-estate agent was involved), it was not advertised as for sale in any major publication, no for-sale sign ever was in the yard, and the Yanceys never said a word to us that they were moving. (And we had always been on good terms with them; we considered them to be very good neighbors.)

Evidence suggests that Briarwood engineered the real-estate deal as a way to keep the highly successful Yancey as its football coach. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with that. But in essence, Briarwood hand-picked our new neighbor--the house apparently was not on the open market--and they picked a guy with a lengthy criminal history, who stole almost 400 square feet of our property, filed a bogus lawsuit against me, assaulted me, and eventually caused me to lose my job at UAB.

Actually, I don't think McGarity directly had anything to do with me losing my job at UAB. That almost certainly happened because McGarity's lawyer, William E. Swatek, and corrupt Shelby County Judge J. Michael Joiner repeatedly cheated me. And when I started this blog to expose their criminal activities, Alabama's Republican machine kicked into gear and cheated me out of my job.

Bill Swatek and Mike Joiner, more than anyone else, are responsible for the hardship we've experienced. And they each have children who graduated from . . . Briarwood Christian School. Hmmm.

I've seen no sign that anyone in Briarwood's leadership gives a rip about this kind of injustice. So imagine my surprise, and delight, when I learned that at least one person at Briarwood--a student apparently--does care about how the school treats its neighbors.

I've received several anonymous comments from the student in recent days, and I put them up where he (I assume it's a he) posted them--at posts related to Briarwood. Most of those posts are fairly old, so it's doubtful that many readers have seen the comments. I would like to share some of them with you.

I've always assumed that private, Christian schools are monolithic places--where everybody thinks pretty much the same way. But my new correspondent illustrates the danger of making such assumptions.

Let's take a look at his thoughts:

I am a student at Briarwood Christian High School and I find this very interesting. Any student at Briarwood can tell you that ever since Fred Yancey has come to Briarwood, there has been way too much emphasis placed on Briarwood football and not enough on the actual academics. I look forward to reading more about your dealings with Briarwood. Keep it up.


I am a Briarwood student and I find your dealings with Briarwood and the lawsuit that they were involved in very interesting. Keep up the good work and continue to investigate this. I am for finding any corruption in ANY institution and stamping it out. Thanks!


I am a student at Briarwood Christian high school and I find your blog very interesting. I had the very same reaction as you when Briarwood lost. I really feel like Briarwood has placed WAY TOO MUCH emphasis on their football program at the expense of their academics program . . . and their morals.

Briarwood have clearly shown that they are more interested in winning football games, and raking in the cash that comes with winning football games, than they are in doing what's right.

You hit the nail on the head! This is exactly their mindset. It is really amazing how they spend so much of their money on their football program.

How are the adults at Briarwood going to "mold kids for a lifetime" when they themselves don't know how to do the right thing?" Amen to that, brother. Amen. I love your blog and I will be telling my fellow students at Briarwood about it!

Well what do you know, maybe we could start a Legal Schnauzer club at Briarwood Christian School. I could go to the library and have readings, just like real writers do. Wouldn't that be cool?


Unknown said...

Dear Schnauzer,

I am honored to have my comments recognized by you in this blog posting. You will be happy to know that I am not the only student at Briarwood that knows about your blog. I was actually introduced to it by a friend, another student at Briarwood. I'm glad that I could help you realize that it is "dangerous" to assume that Christian schools are "monolithic places" where "everybody thinks pretty much the same way." There are actually a LOT of students at Briarwood that have the same thoughts as me and believe that, over the years, Briarwood's football program, under Fred Yancey's supervision, has become much too powerful and too much emphasis has been placed on the football program, which, in recent years, has begun to overshadow the academics at Briarwood.

I would love to help you in your investigation of Fred Yancey in any way I can by answering any questions you have about Briarwood or its staff. The big news now is a proposal by the school board to build additional fields on the new land that Briarwood bought recently. The proposal does come with a state-of-the-art science building, but the majority of the funds will go towards unnecessary sports fields. Oh, and by the way, this project will cost MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!! And guess who has to pay for it? The families of the students, even the ones that don't play any of those sports. Does that seem fair to you?

Anyway, good luck on your blog! I will help spread the word throughout Briarwood about your blog and I wish you the best of luck on your blog and your new neighbor!

legalschnauzer said...

I'm delighted to include your thoughtful comments on the blog.

Feel free to contact me at my private or 991-7438. Will definitely protect your privacy, but would look forward to visiting with you.

It's interesting to hear from someone inside the school that the desire to have a powerhouse football team has taken over the school's broader mission. Briarwood's lust for football supremacy certainly seems to be what drove this peculiar real-estate deal and caused my wife and me to have all sorts of legal headaches.

I'm particularly glad to hear that there is some diversity of thought at Briarwood. I think that's good for any institution.

Anonymous said...

You don't have a clue.All your assumptions are wrong.I've heard about you and your wife and how ya'll treated a bunch of young kids.Your own neighbors told us about your wife cussing at these young boys.I'll stop at that before I say something I might regret.

legalschnauzer said...

If you know so much, why are you remaining anonymous? Send me a private e-mail and let me know who you are, and I will be glad to discuss these matters with you. You can come to my house or I will go to yours.

But I can make a few points right now:

* I don't know whether my wife used foul language with some kids or not. But I do know the incident you refer to came after one of the kids drove an ATV over our front yard and tore up our lawn. Nobody probably told you about that did they? None of these "parents" probably told you about the multiple times these "young kids" vandalized our house, including throwing objects through our windows and trying to burn down our mailbox.

* If my wife supposedly used foul language with kids, why was I sued?

* Do you or these other neighbors involved, know about Mike McGarity's criminal background? He has at least eight convictions in his background, including sex-related and violence-related crimes. And his lawyer has a 30-year history of being an unethical dirtbag. All of this is public record, and I would be glad to show it to you.

Of course, you would have to come out from behind your anonymous curtain, and I doubt that you are willing to do that.

Anonymous said...

wow i can not believe someone would would question the integrity of Fred Yancey. He is a great Christian man who has helped many young people. I believe people are upset becuase there fellow classmates excel in athletics and do well and do not know how to handle it. Many parents of these children just use the excuse of the football program being "too powerful" as a way of not excepting reality. If they have that much of a problem then why not transfer somewhere else...