Book Review Book Review
March 2, 2008 by Joneene Lobe (Ely, Minnesota)

Lesson Plan for Survival

Plaintiff Blues is a fascinating and absorbing account of one woman's battle for justice in a male-dominated profession, school administration. Pearson's turbulent journey leads the reader through thirty plus years of frustration, anger, disappointment, mental and physical stress in her quest for justice while simultaneously taking on the duties of a high school teacher and later on as a school principal. Surviving would be the norm for most but Pearson excelled in her profession despite all of the forces working against her. Her tenacity, indomitable spirit and determination to make many wrongs right give hope to those who are walking her walk. In the workplace, two evils, discrimination and retaliation are not easy to combat, particularly retaliation. Plaintiff Blues gives the "lesson plan" to prepare for those battles. Book Review
September 9, 2007 by S. Butalla (Eveleth, Minnesota)

Prepare to be Surprised!

Everyone who is interested in truth, justice, equality, and education should read this book and prepare to be surprised. Plaintiff Blues is the real-life account of one woman's relentless struggle to succeed in her career while being thwarted time and again by gender-biased males in small rural communities of northern Minnesota. Judy Pearson was totally dedicated and eminently qualified as a teacher and administrator, yet she was overlooked whenever she applied for advancement. Other applicants fell obviously short of her qualifications. Judy and her devoted husband, who are parents of two sons, spent arduous years and much money on litigation in their efforts to obtain justice. The toll on their marriage, family, health, and finances would have halted most others.
The claims and information she presents in this book are based on facts, public record, legal documents, written testimonies, and verifiable statements made by students, teachers, colleagues, administrators, lawyers, judges, and people in the communities involved.
Those familiar with the book Class Action, which was the basis for the movie North Country, starring Charlize Theron, will no doubt notice parallel attitudes of gender bias and the devastating effects of retaliation when a woman well-qualified for a job attempts to stand up for her rights against the provincialism of male-dominated hierarchies in these same small rural areas. A few strong women, such as Lois Jensen, the leading character of Class Action, and Judy Pearson have sacrificed greatly to pave the very rough road for other women who currently occupy positions of administration and leadership in this part of the country. Book Review
October 1, 2007 Don St Dennis "dsdsaint" (St. Paul, MN)

Know Your Rights!

Judy Pearson grew up believing that fairness in America meant that the best qualified person got the job. She was shocked when in 1986 she applied for a principal ship in her home town and discovered that a small group of men, in an illegal, closed door meeting, said, "Hell would freeze over before we'll hire a woman to be principal of Cook High School." Instead, they chose a substantially less qualified male candidate who had lied about his qualifications.
Pearson is a respected educator with professionalism and passion for quality community education. All she ever wanted was to teach and administer public school education in the town where she lived. She has the credentials to do it too. Plaintiff's Blues details her saga of fighting back against a system of bias, discrimination and retaliation.
Pearson's first brush with discrimination occurred when she delivered her first child, and took 11 of 12 accrued sick leave days before resuming work. These were sick days, not maternity leave, and she had earned them. The school district docked her pay and she had to file a grievance. She eventually was paid those days but in the process she had begun to learn the emotional and political capital known as the Plaintiff Blues.
Later she sued the district over being denied the principal ship and won, but gained little in the victory. In fact her fight initiated long term retaliation against her in the workplace. Despite winning praise and commendation for her work from students, teachers, parents, peers, and community leaders, she was transferred and denied benefits that other male administrators were awarded, sometimes secretly. Eventually though, the people who denied her and who retaliated against her were discredited. Others who had been similarly harmed came forward. Although hell never froze over at Cook High School for her, because of her fight, other women in the school district did eventually receive positions as principals and administrators.
Plaintiff's Blues details not only the actions against her, but also tells in a personal way the stress and insecurity of being a plaintiff and fighting a large system. Pearson inter-mixes the legal play-by-play of her actions with the personal and emotional stories of her childhood, her marriage, her children, and her love for lake living in Northern Minnesota. She laughs now at the incredulity of two small town incongruous rumors, one that claimed she was having an affair, and one that said she had a heart attack and drowned in her bathtub (a teacher acquaintance said he knew it couldn't be true because "the Pearson's don't take baths in summer, they take saunas").
Plaintiffs, potential plaintiffs, and anyone who has been wronged in the workplace would be wise to read this firsthand account, and heed these tips by Pearson:
  • You have to know your rights to have your rights.
  • Check out the other guy! Be on the lookout for bogus credentials. Do not believe everything you read or hear about another's credentials.
  • Watch out for advisory committees!
  • Beware hidden agendas!
  • Local newspapers are your watchdog!
  • Keep your eye on the process!
  • Watch the calendar, timelines are huge!
  • Be prepared for the long haul!
  • Make sure a thorough vetting job has been done!

Read what readers have said about the book HERE!

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