Jay Forney is an angry man, and he doesn't care who knows it.
Last Wednesday, Forney set up three large plywood signs at the edge of his property, which fronts the south shoulder of Highway 136 just east of the Maryville City Limits.
The signs are lettered with insults directed at the Maryville R-II School Board, Superintendent Larry Linthacum and Athletics Director Paul Snow.
Twin messages on each sign read: "Larry Linthacum AntiChrist, School Board Hitler's Followers"; "School Board AntiChrist's Followers, Linthacum High School Hitler"; and "Maryville High School Communism, Paul Snow Two-Faced Liar."
Sheriff Darren White said the signs are protected speech under the First Amendment and violate no laws except for — due to their size — Polk Township zoning regulations.
The reason for all this vitriol is that, as Forney sees it, the school district has treated his son unfairly.
Maryville High School running back Cole Forney was recently given a one-year suspension for his involvement in a teenage party in January that was allegedly rife with illegal drugs, sex and alcohol.
The younger Forney, a junior, and MHS senior Nick Groumoutis, who was also barred from sports for being at the party, filed an injunction against the Maryville R-II School District earlier this month in Nodaway County Circuit Court along with a motion for reinstatement.
Presiding Judge Roger Prokes dismissed the case last week, and a couple of days later the signs went up in Forney's yard.
For its part, the district has declined to comment on the suspensions of Forney, Groumoutis and at least two other youths, citing provisions set forth in the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Jay Forney, however, claims the district violated Missouri State High School Athletic Association policy by suspending his son from athletics for his entire senior year.
According to court records, MSHSAA requires that students found in violation of either its rules or additional standards set by high schools face suspension from extracurricular activities for 60 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense and one year for a third offense.
Forney claimed his son had no prior violations and was "really just a witness" to alleged illegal activities at the party. He also said Cole was not given sufficient opportunity to "self-report" to school officials.
"Nobody would listen to anything we were saying," he said.
As for the signs, Forney called the reference to Hitler "obviously a large exaggeration." He added that he is not religious and used the word "Antichrist" to underscore what he perceives as hypocrisy on the part of "church-goers" who either work for the school district or sit on the R-II board.
Forney said Cole has the right to appeal, but admits that such an effort would likely fail in light of the court decision.
"It got shot down so hard and so quick, I just don't know," he said.
Forney is also considering renting a house in Savannah so that Cole could, perhaps, play football there next year. He said, however, he has been told that MSHSAA, will probably enforce the suspension at any member school.