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Former superintendent sues district, board member

Her unusual one-year tenure as the interim superintendent of the Three Rivers School District ended in acrimony and accusations. Now it's a lawsuit.

Following through with threats made last year, former Three Rivers Superintendent Patricia Adams and an assistant are suing both the school district and a member of the School Board, Ron Crume Jr.

The suit, filed last week in Josephine County Circuit Court, seeks damages of $200,000 on five claims for Adams and $50,000 on three claims for Shelley Quick, a school district employee who was secretary to the board and also an aide to Adams during her one-year tenure as interim superintendent.

The lawsuit rehashes headline-making allegations made by Adams and Quick last year, after Adams threatened to sue the district alleging she was the victim of harassment and retaliation by Crume when he was serving as chairman of the board.

Those claims include allegations that Crume, a self-described conservative, harassed Adams for objecting to prayer before board meetings and over his opposition to controversial Common Core education standards.

Adams also restated allegations that Crume once used derogatory slurs during a discussion of proposed anti-bullying and sexual orientation protection policies, that he tried to violate the state public meetings law and make her review conservative political material that was outside the scope of her employment, and that he once threatened to fire Adams unless she put a maintenance supervisor on administrative leave.

Finally, in a new allegation, the lawsuit alleges Crume and other, unnamed, board members pressured Adams to reverse the expulsion of a student "who had a shotgun on the school bus."

Quick, who is still employed by the district, alleges Crume retaliated against her by trying to exclude her from School Board executive sessions after she filed a complaint against him last February over many of the issues that Adams also cites in the lawsuit.

Medford attorney Ryan J. Vanderhoof told the Grants Pass Daily Courier that he went to court on behalf of Adams and Quick after his demand for damages in a tort claim went nowhere. A tort claim is a precursor to a lawsuit and is designed to give parties a chance to settle before more expensive litigation is initiated.

"They didn't offer anything. ... Well, it wasn't very much," Vanderhoof said, adding, "Let's just say, we couldn't reach an agreement."

The lawsuit cites several different legal claims on behalf of Adams: whistleblower protection, discrimination, breach of contract and defamation. Quick's claims also include whistleblower protection, discrimination and defamation.

The defamation claim alleges Crume slandered Adams and Quick in comments he made to the Daily Courier last summer about the tort claim.

In those comments, Crume accused Adams and Quick of "strategically" filing claims against him as part of a power struggle for control of the school district. He also said he sought legal advice about the board's rights because "we felt like we were being lied to and deceived so much."

Crume told the Courier Friday that he had been instructed not to discuss the lawsuit.