Jeffrey Leardini Is Back in the News


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You may have read some of the coverage of Jeffrey Leardini, the former teacher to whom a jury recently awarded $1.1 million plus reimbursement for legal fees in his lawsuit against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Leardini resigned from CMS six years ago after a CMS official confronted him on allegations of "improper touching" made by a few of his students. Leardini has maintained his innocence, that he felt coerced into resigning, and that the incident ruined his teaching career. (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police investigated the allegations and filed charges, but Leardini was acquitted.)

In the December 2006 issue, we ran a story on Leardini and his case. These lines, appearing early in the story, offer a good summary.

"Committed to teaching, recently married, and frequently singled out for praise by administrators, students, and parents during his eight-year career, Leardini found himself suddenly caught up in a Kafkaesque spiral triggered by the accusations of twelve-year-old children."

But really, if you want to know the background behind the case, the entire story is worth reading. Written by Ted Reed, I don't recall any other media outlet publishing as detailed of an account. It's a balanced look at a difficult subject. And it got me to thinking about the value of magazine stories. We have the space to go in depth and the ability to call it like we see it. All of the other coverage of Leardini, that I can recall, was of the episodic variety--one news bit at a time. Only a magazine can connect the dots and lay it all out for the reader.

 

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About Richard

Richard Thurmond is publisher of Charlotte magazine and its sister publications. He's been on staff since 1995 and served as editor from 1999 through 2012. He thinks he is funnier than he is, which is helpful information for reading this blog. Got something to say but too chicken to comment? E-mail him.

 

About Michael

Michael Graff became the executive editor of Charlotte magazine in April 2013, after four years as an editor and writer at Our State magazine. Before that, he was the Sunday enterprise reporter for The Fayetteville Observer. Before that, he was a sports writer in Winchester, Virginia, and Rocky Mount, N.C. Before that, he was the first mate on his father's charter fishing boat in Maryland. His freelance work appears in online and print publications around the country. Email him here, or find him on twitter @michaelngraff.

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