Our quest to obtain public records from the local school district has resulted in assurance from the school superintendent that we will succeed.
As Eye on Jacksonville readers know, we began asking school officials last May whether any local teachers have been accused of having sex with students.
In the past five years or so, this has become a problem nationwide with new incidents being reported almost every day.
Since we began asking, two local teachers have been accused. We wanted to know if there have been others.
We paid $107.60 in August to buy the public records. We still have not received them, although we were told at the time it would take about five hours of work.
Superintendent Diane Greene recently wrote us, saying:
“Thank you for making me aware of your public records request. Please know that your request is in process. While locating and gathering records of this type is not cumbersome, we have a duty to protect student confidentiality. There is confidential information in the records you requested. Staff with a high level of knowledge of student privacy and public record laws must carefully review and redact the records before they can be released. The group qualified to do this work is small and has other operational duties. While I apologize that this has taken longer than anticipated, we will comply with your request according to law. The team assures me that your request will be fulfilled this month, probably before we close for Thanksgiving. And yes, as lifelong educator, my career has been dedicated to the well-being of children. You will see that I will not be tolerant of adults who do them harm. Thank you again for your note, and I trust that our staff will complete your request soon.”
So — apparently and as strange as it may seem — neither the superintendent, nor School Board members, nor the head of the school’s police force knows how many teachers, if any, have been accused of improper conduct with students.
You, dear readers, may be among the first to get this information, after we do.
If we do.