Gilbert Public Schools Sued for Withholding Public Records Regarding Lawsuits and Claims by District Teachers and Administrators

As Westie says, when it comes to Gilbert Public Schools, those little things called laws are slippery little suckers when GPS tries to figure out if they should obey them.

WesternConnections has been asking for more than a year for public records that GPS is required, by law, to give any citizen who asks. It seems that William McCoy, husband of GPS Assistant Principal Elizabeth McCoy who filed a Notice of Claim against GPS in October 2012, has a similar problem with getting public records released on request. There are a number of people who have told us they, too, have been refused public records by GPS. For the past few years, it seems like GPS has been daring someone to take them to court over public records.

Sometimes what happens is this: Assistant Superintendent and General Counsel Clyde Dangerfield just flat out refuses to turn the records over and makes up some legal mumbo-jumbo that we're all supposed to believe. Other times, Dianne Bowers, Director of Community Relations for Gilbert Public Schools, simply ignores requests submitted using proper channels as designated by GPS. Here's the lawsuit, with text shown below.


William R. Hobson, SBN 006887
LAW OFFICES OF WILLIAM R. HOBSON, P.C.
7303 West Boston Street
Chandler, AZ 85226
480-705-7550
Fax 480-705-7503
bill@billhobsonlaw.com

Kevin Koelbel, SBN 016599
Kyle J. Shelton, SBN 027379
LAW OFFICES OF KEVIN KOELBEL, P.C.
7303 W. Boston Street
Chandler, AZ 85226
(480) 705-7550
(480) 705-7503 Fax
kevin@koelbellaw.com
kyle@koelbellaw.com
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

THOMAS GREEN and DENISE GREEN, husband and wife; SARAH GREEN, an unmarried person, WILLIAM MCCOY, a married man,
Plaintiffs,

v.

GILBERT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT No. 41, a political subdivision of the state; DAVE ALLISON, Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools; CLYDE DANGERFIELD, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services and the General Counsel; DIANNE BOWERS, Director of Community Relations for Gilbert Public Schools and its Public Information Officer; JOHN DOES I-X, and JANE DOES I-X.

Defendants,

  No.CV2012-096773

VERIFIED COMPLAINT

(Special Action, Declaratory Relief,
Mandamus Relief, Public Records)

(Jury Trial Demanded)
 

This is an action under A.R.S. § 39-121 et seq. to compel Gilbert Unified School District No. 41 (the "District") to provide public records to which Plaintiffs were wrongfully denied access or copies. Plaintiffs for their complaint alleges as follows:

PARTIES

1. Plaintiffs Thomas and Denise Green ("Thomas and Denise") are residents of Maricopa County and substitute teachers who volunteered for, and were employed for a time by the District.

2. Plaintiff Sarah Green ("Sarah") is the daughter of Thomas and Denise (collectively "the Greens"), a resident of Maricopa County, and was a District teacher from July 2005 through June 2012.

3. Plaintiff William McCoy ("McCoy") is a resident of Maricopa County, whose wife is employed by the District.

4. The District is a public school district organized under the laws of the State of Arizona and is authorized by law to sue and be sued. A.R.S. § 15-326.

5. Defendant Dave Allison (Allison) is the Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools and is charged with management of all administrative functions of the district. He is sued in his official capacity only.

6. Defendant Clyde Dangerfield ("Dangerfield") is the District's Assistant Superintendent for Business Services and its General Counsel and is charged with responding to public records requests. He is sued in his official capacity only.

7. Defendant Dianne Bowers ("Bowers") is the District's Director of Community Relations for Gilbert Public Schools and its Public Information Officer and is charged with responding to public records requests. She is sued in her official capacity only.

8. John Does I-X and Jane Does I-X are individuals whose identities and culpable conduct are presently unknown, but who may be responsible for violating the Arizona Public Records law. At such time the identities and culpable conduct of those persons becomes known, Plaintiffs will seek leave of the Court to amend their complaint as appropriate.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

9. This court has jurisdiction under A.R.S. §§ 39-121.02 and 12-123; and Rule 4, Ariz. R. P. for Spec. Actions.

10. Venue is proper under A.R.S. § 12.401 and Rule 4(b), Ariz. R. P. for Spec. Actions.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

The Greens

11. Sarah reported bullying in her third grade classroom in February 2011.

12. Following her reports of bullying and other anomalies at Meridian Elementary School, Sarah experienced what she believes was retaliation against her by the District.

13. On April 12, 2011, Thomas and Denise testified on behalf of Sarah's colleague at an Arizona Department of Economic Security administrative hearing, and opposed the District's actions regarding Sarah Green's teaching colleague.

14. Thereafter the District removed Sarah from her classroom and the District's Governing Board adopting a Statement of Charges and Intent to Dismiss her from employment with the District.

Records of Internal Investigations

15. Thomas and Denise met with the District's Assistant Superintendent Shane McCord ("McCord") on March 23, 2011 to express concerns about events and incidents at Meridian Elementary School.

16. McCord told Thomas and Denise the District would appoint an independent investigator to look into everything they had told him that day.

17. The District identified Attorney Denise Lowell-Britt ("Lowell-Britt") as the independent investigator assigned to investigate, report findings and provide a written response on behalf of the District.

18. On May 16, 2011, after being informed by "an attorney from Gilbert Public Schools that there is a current complaint from both Sarah Green and her mother Denise Green," parents of a child in Sarah Green's class at Meridian Elementary School, filed a complaint against Sarah and Denise.

19. The District identified Attorney Matthew W. Wright as an independent investigator assigned to investigate the parents' complaint.


20. On August 19, 2011, the Greens requested copies of Lowell-Britt's investigation report, a copy of the signed notes from Lowell-Britt's interview of Thomas and Denise, and a copy of the draft notes that Thomas and Denise edited.

21. That same day, Sarah and Denise requested a copy of Matthew W. Wright's investigation report.

22. Sarah assumed the District had responded in writing and asked for a copy of the District's written response to the parents following the investigation.

23. The District's response to the requests for public records provided some, but not all, of the records the Greens requested.

24. On September 15, 2011, the Greens requested access to the interview notes and documents reviewed in Lowell-Britt's investigation, and asked to review them on September 22-23, 2011.

25. Dangerfield met with Thomas and Denise on September 22, 2011, but did not provide access to the requested documents, saying they were not yet assembled for review.

26. Through a series of email messages, arrangements were made for the Greens to review Lowell-Britt's investigation file on October 5 and October 7, 2011 in District offices.

27. On October 5, 2011, Dangerfield handed the Greens an unredacted copy of Matthew Wright's complete report including the investigation notes that were attached to that report from his investigation into the complaint by parents of their student in Sarah Green's class.

28. Also on October 5, 2011, Dangerfield gave the Greens unfettered access to a box of unredacted documents described as Lowell-Britt's investigation file and stated:

You know, you're all sitting here in my office. I invited you to come here and sit in my office, I've opened the books to you. Here is everything.

29. Based on an agreement with Dangerfield, the Greens tagged approximately 487 pages of documents in that box to be copied and provided to them as public records.

30. On October 20, 2011, Sherry Ward, Dangerfield's Executive Assistant, emailed Denise Green

I'm working on the copies now and before I go any further (I have about 100 copies so far) I wanted to make sure you knew that there is a 35 cents per copy fee . . .

31. The Arizona's Ombudsman Web Site features Frequently Asked Questions for citizens about Arizona Public Records laws:

Can the public body charge me for copies?

Yes. The cost will depend on whether the records will be used for a commercial or non-commercial purpose. A person requesting copies for a non-commercial purpose may be charged a copying fee. Ten to 30 cents is reasonable.

http://www.azleg.gov/ombudsman/public_records.html (Information retrieved August 23, 2012) (emphasis added).

32. The District charges, 35 cents per page, which exceeds the "ten to 30 cents" deemed reasonable by Arizona's Ombudsman.

33. On information and belief, it does not cost the District 35 cents to make a copy.

34. The District withheld most of the public records and, in a letter dated November 8, 2011, Dangerfield told the Greens:

• Certain records you requested are educational records that are not public records under Arizona law;
• Certain records you requested are attorney-client privileged; and
• Certain records you requested involve the privacy interests of persons who participated in the investigation that was conducted by outside investigators.

35. Even though Dangerfield had previously "opened the books" to the Greens and allowed them unfettered access to review the unredacted documents, the District refused to provide copies of those documents.

36. Dangerfield, as the District's General Counsel, knowingly and purposefully waived any attorney-client privilege the District might have claimed when he allowed the Greens to review those same records on October 5 and October 7, 2011.

37. Dangerfield did not assert any privacy interests of anyone who participated in either of the two investigations when he allowed the Greens to review unredacted investigation files, even though he could have redacted personal information had he believed at that time that privacy interests were at risk.

38. The District's refusal to provide all of the requested public records after violated A.R.S. § 39-121 et seq.

39. The Greens paid the fee of $22.40 and picked up the records the District was willing to provide.

40. Most of those 64 records the District produced were documents the Greens had provided to the District, and which the Greens had not tagged to be copied as part of their public records request. Those 64 records were considerably less than the Greens were led to expect by Sherry Ward's October 20, 2011 email in which she stated she had "about 100 copies so far."

Records Supporting Statement of Charges

41. Two days after the District's Governing Board adopted a Statement of Charges terminating Sarah's employment, Thomas and Denise requested six categories of public records, including the Statement of Charges "in electronic format with the meta data."

42. On December 15, 2011, Thomas and Denise made a supplemental request for public records, adding 31 names to the list presented on December 8, 2011.

43. Included in the December 15, 2011 public records request was a request for an index of the documents the District withheld from production:

14. Please provide an index for the materials that you exempted from production, in your letter dated November 8, 2011, to our public records request made in person on October 7, 2011.

44. In a December 19, 2011 email to Dangerfield, Thomas and Denise again discussed records the District withheld from production:

We're concerned about what you withheld from the public records request we made after all three of us reviewed Denise Lowell-Britt's investigation file. We asked in our latest public records request: "Please provide an index for the materials that you exempted from production, in your letter dated November 8, 2011, to our public records request made in person on October 7, 2011." We would appreciate receiving that index promptly, as well.

45. On December 21, 2011, Thomas and Denise Green emailed Dangerfield to confirm his oral comments made at the District's Governing Board meeting on December 20, 2011:

This email confirms that you told me last night at the board meeting:
a. [The District] will do a "rolling production" of the public records that we have requested, with the first production expected before winter break begins

b. [The District] expects to have Sarah's complete employment records ready for us to pick up at the end of the day today

Please provide the emails we requested in electronic format, if possible. That will make production much easier and quicker, since your IT folks can do it electronically immediately following their search for those emails. Putting them on a CD also will save copying charges for the emails we requested.

46. Within half an hour, Dangerfield replied: "I regret that the file is not ready yet, we will contact you next week when it is."

47. Minutes later, Thomas and Denise emailed Dangerfield again:

Please make this a priority for anyone involved in producing the records, especially since it's a holiday period.

It's not fair to Sarah if delays in producing records limit her ability to defend against Dr. Allison's charges.

48. It was not until the middle of the winter break, December 28, 2011, that the District responded to the Greens' requests. Even then, the District chose not to produce the records directly to the Greens, but through its outside counsel.

49. The District produced some, but not all, of the records requested and sent invoices, which the Greens paid immediately after receipt:

• January 10, 2012 (248 copies @ $.35 each) $86.80

• January 18, 2012 (199 copies @ $.35 each) $69.65

• January 31, 2012 (84 copies @ $.35 each) $29.40

50. The District did not provide any of the requested emails in their native (electronic) format, as the Greens had requested thereby avoiding the production of metadata.

51. The District did not provide an index of any of the documents exempted from production, as the Greens had requested.

52. By providing records without specifying exemptions or an inventory of withheld documents, the District represented that all documents the Greens had requested had been produced.

53. On March 5, 2012, Sarah emailed Dangerfield informing him that the package of personnel records she ultimately received was not complete. She described records the District did not produce and demanded those records be produced:

Thank you for the package of personnel records I received in the mail, but it is not complete . . . I wanted to point out that the file without my response is incomplete and misleading.

54. In the same email message, Sarah again asked for electronic files and metadata within original documents enumerated in public records requests:

In addition, I have asked for the electronic files of the Statement of Charges and Intent to Dismiss, including the metadata within the original documents. The electronic files can easily be sent to me by email. The copies that I received were .pdf file, which do not contain the metadata for the original Word or WordPerfect documents. Please arrange for the electronic files I have requested to be sent to me directly at this email address.

55. Dangerfield responded to Sarah on March 8, 2012, producing two of the documents she had described as omitted from the earlier production, but concerning the multiple requests for the electronic files with metadata:

Regarding your request for the metadata associated with the notice of intent to dismiss and statement of charges that were adopted by the Governing Board at their December 6, 2011 meeting, please note that the metadata for those documents reflects certain communications between the District and its legal counsel and certain advice of legal counsel. Such communications and advice are subject to the attorney-client privilege and are not subject to disclosure under the public records statutes. Under these circumstances, we respectfully decline your request for those materials.

56. On March 9, 2012, Dangerfield wrote to Thomas and Denise:

The District has processed your records requests to the best of our abilities. We have sent you all the records we are capable of providing at this time.

57. The District again refused to provide documents from the investigation file the Greens had repeatedly requested since October 7, 2011:

This material is work product of Denise Lowell-Britt, Esq. and was returned to her office after your review, 10/5/11 and our response of 11/8/11.

58. The District's response confirmed that the Greens had indeed been allowed to review the entire investigation file in Dangerfield's office on October 5, 2011 and again on October 7, 2011; the Greens had marked approximately 487 records for production over those two days.

59. The District's response confirmed Dangerfield had waived attorney-client privilege between the District and Lowell-Britt, by discussing her investigation and allowing the Greens to have unfettered access to unredacted documents contained within the box that was purported to be the complete investigation file.

60. The District's refusal to produce an index of the records exempted from production is a violation of A.R.S. § 39-121 et seq.

61. In a March 9, 2012 letter, Dangerfield again stated the District was refusing to provide electronic files with metadata that the Greens had requested:

4. Provided to Sara [sic] Green 3/8/12. Regarding your request for the metadata associated with the notice of intent to dismiss and statement of charges that were adopted by the Governing Board at their December 6, 2011 meeting, please note that the metadata for those documents reflects certain communications between the District and its legal counsel and certain advice of legal counsel. Such communications and advice are subject to the attorney-client privilege and are not subject to disclosure under the public records statutes. Under these circumstances, we respectfully decline your request for those materials.

62. In Response to the Greens' request for "an index for the materials you exempted from production, in your letter of November 8, 2011," the District again refused to provide an index with a non-responsive comment:

14. See letter dated Nov 8, 2011 for explanation.

63. Sarah made another request by email to Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield for electronic copies of the Statement of Charges and Intent to Dismiss with metadata on July 9, 2012:

The electronic copies of the Statement of Charges and Intent to Dismiss with metadata are public records. Please provide them to me immediately.

64. The District has not provided those public records to the Greens, despite their repeated requests.

Other Requests for Public Records

65. Eleven anonymous letters had been sent to the Arizona Republic, as well as to all members of the Governing Board, according to the reporter's online article published on February 22, 2012:

Gilbert school principal focus of investigation. Anonymous notes spark inquiry into educator's conduct. Associate Superintendent Nikki Blanchard told the school staff on Tuesday that the district had hired Phoenix attorney Matt Wright of the Holm Wright Hyde and Hays law firm to look into allegations raised in a series of anonymous letters sent to school-board members and the media. http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/2012/02/22/20120222gilbert-school-principal-focus-investigation.html

66. Using an online contact form on the District's official website, on April 19, 2012, Denise checked "Opportunity to review records," and made a new request for public records, citing the article published online by the Arizona Republic:

I would like to review the records of each of the eleven anonymous complaints sent to the board concerning Principal Brian Yee of Highland Junior High School, as reported in the Arizona Republic on February 22, 2012: http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/2012/02/22/20120222gilbert-school-principal-focus-investigation.html

67. Not knowing that the District's online request form could be checked for both "Opportunity to review records" AND "Copies of Records," Denise filled out a second online form, selecting "Copies of Records" with the identical request.

68. Shortly after Denise submitted her requests through the District's online form, Dianne Bowers, Director of Community Relations, acknowledged the request:

Thank you for your inquiry. I will contact you shortly regarding your request for public records. Please confirm that this is the preferred contact address.

69. Dianne Bowers did not contact Denise about the requests made on April 19, 2012.

70. On July 6, 2012, Denise again submitted a request for the same public records:

I asked on April 19, 2012 to review and receive a copy of each of the eleven anonymous complaints sent to the board concerning Principal Brian Yee of Highland Jr. High School. You replied by email to confirm my email address and wrote that you would contact me shortly. This is my [printed copy of form cuts off at this point].

71. The District did not respond to Denise's online form submission repeating her request for public records.

72. Again using the online contact form on the District's official website, Denise made a related request on July 10, 2012:

I would like to review the investigation report from Matthew Wright's investigation of eleven anonymous complaints against principal Brian Yee, Highland Junior High School, as reported in the Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/2012/05/30/20120530gilbert-no-sexual-misconduct-evidence-highland-junior-high-principal-investigation.html

73. The auto-response for that submission on July 10, 2012:

Thank you for your interest in Gilbert Public Schools
Dianne Bowers, Public Information Officer

74. The District did not respond to Denise's online form submission requesting both an opportunity to review and copies of public records.

75. On August 2, 2012, Denise used the District's online form to submit a request for public records, checking both opportunity to review and copies of records:

I would like to review a copy of the report requested by [Governing Board member] Lily Tram concerning requests for public records (who made requests, costs, charges for records, etc). I would appreciate a .pdf electronic copy of that report, if available; it was distributed in board packets.

76. The auto-response for that submission on August 2, 2012:

Thank you for your interest in Gilbert Public Schools
Dianne Bowers, Public Information Officer

77. The Amended Agenda for the May 15, 2012 Board Meeting included Agenda Item 9.01, Items for Future Consideration:

2. Report on District Cost, Staff Time and Any Other Relative Data Spent on Public Request for Information. The report should list the requested information, date, name of person requesting the information, and if the person requesting information was charged for any costs.
Requested by Lily Tram
Date: May 15, 2012

78. Dianne Bowers emailed Denise on August 8, 2012:

Mrs. Green, the requested records are available for your review. If you would like to take a copy of the 9 page file, I can leave it at the front desk for you to pick up during the hours of 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM. The cost of the copies is $3.15.

79. Within half an hour, Denise emailed Dianne Bowers, opting to pick up the report at the front desk when it was ready.

80. On August 9, 2012, Denise Green made another request for public records, using the online form on the District's official website, and checking "Copies of Records:"

I would like to receive Superintendent Allison's memo to the board regarding the Pro Override Statement, as reported by the Arizona Republic on August 8, 2012, I will add $0.35 to my payment for the report about public records, if that's OK.

81. The auto-response for that submission on August 9, 2012:

Thank you for your interest in Gilbert Public Schools
Dianne Bowers, Public Information Officer

82. Later the same day, Dianne Bowers replied by email that the memo was 4 pages, and that Denise Green could review the document at no cost or take a full copy for $1.40.

83. Denise opted to receive the printed 4 page memo and asked when the documents would be ready to pick up.

84. Denise picked up the two separate public records packages on August 10, 2012, submitting a check to the District in the amount of $4.55.

85. Denise sent an email sent to Dianne Bowers later on August 10, 2012, subject line: Information not included in response to public records requests:

When I reviewed the information provided today with the Superintendent's Memo of August 3, 2012 as a result of a public records request, I noticed that Para "3. Exit Interview Report (attached)" was not included with the other documents. Is there a reason that the exit interviews report is missing from the documents I received?

[Regarding the report requested by Lily Tram:] …The report I received shows only the date requested, a generic entry as to "requested by" and a summary of the request. The other information that Lily Tram requested did not appear in the report that I was provided. Is there a reason that information is not included in the report I received?

86. The District did not respond to Denise's questions about information that was omitted from the copies of public records the District provided.

87. There was no reason to withhold from the public any of the information in the public records report that had been requested by board member Lily Tram.

88. There was no reason to withhold from the public any of the information in the exit interview report the Superintendent provided to the Governing Board.

89. Although the District's report of 2011-2012 Public Records Requests provided to Denise did not include all the information that had been specified on the agenda of the May 15, 2012 board meeting, the report contained enough information to identify some of the requests for public information that the Greens had made.

90. Entries on the Public Records Report that appear to correspond to the Greens' requests but were not provided to the Greens include:

• 11/9/2011 – Individual – Investigative files on [Sarah]

• 12/7/2011 – Individual – Records for [Sarah]

• 12/8/2011 – Individual – Entire investigative file leading to Statement of Charges against [Sarah]

• All emails between or among people (47 named) regarding former employee, actions taken in response to [Sarah's] reports of bullying or discrimination, or her employment.

• Statement of Charges against [Sarah] in electronic format with the metadata.

• Provide an index for the materials that were exempted from production in letter dated Nov. 8, 2011, to previous records request made in person on Oct. 7, 2011.

• 12/15/2011 – Employee – Personnel records including applications, references, compensation records, payroll information, evaluations, transcripts, personnel action requests, commendations, complaints and responses, suggestions for improvement, and other materials considered pertinent to employee's employment history, in every form those files may be kept, whether on paper as documents, notes, emails, forms and evaluations, and if kept in electronic format, with the metadata pertaining to the file.

• 4/19/2012 – Individual – Copies and opportunity to review each of the 11 letters submitted to the Governing Board by anonymous writers, as reported in newspaper on Feb. 22, 2012.

91. The Public Records Report shows the District was aware of the Greens' public records requests, but failed to provide all of the records requested.

92. The records not produced include:

• Some records from Sarah Green's employment file were withheld; others were provided only after several repeated requests.

• The District did not provide any investigative files leading to the Statement of Charges.
• Only a portion of the requested emails were provided; none of the emails were provided in their original electronic format.

• The District refused to provide the Statement of Charges in electronic format, citing attorney-client privilege as the basis for withholding electronic files.

• The District refused to provide an index to the materials exempted from production, citing only inappropriate reasons the information was withheld after the District had allowed the Greens to review the same files.

• The District did not provide all of Sarah Green's employment records, and provided nothing in original, non-paper forms, although much of the information was maintained electronically on various District software programs and servers.

• The District never responded to requests for information about the eleven anonymous letters or the subsequent investigation based on those letters, which was conducted by the same attorney who investigated the complaint filed by Ted and Kelly ***** against Sarah Green and Denise Green.

93. While the District withheld public records requested by the Greens, the District provided some of that same information to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on December 13, 2011, in response to charges that had been filed against the District. Included in the documents provided to the EEOC were:

• Interview notes from attorney Denise Lowell-Britt's investigation.

• An unredacted copy of the investigation report written by Denise Lowell-Britt. Names had been redacted from the copy of the same report the District provided to Thomas, Denise and Sarah Green.

• Approximately 84 pages of documents dealing with Sarah Green's computer accounts with the District, ranging from August 7, 2008 through May 20, 2011.

 •  Affidavits about Sarah Green's computer accounts from two employees on December 12, 2011 (Steve Schaible and Steve St. Marie) which the District did not produce with other records related to Sarah Green's employment.

• District Purchase Order 204442, dated 9/23/11, in the amount of $500.00 for "BPO/REIMB FOR Sarah Green had claimed $338.92 in damages from her involuntary transfer from Meridian Elementary School to Highland Park Elementary School, which was the amount that the District reimbursed to Sarah Green, not $500.00.

94. The District submitted to the U.S. EEOC an email from Sonya Watkins regarding information that the District was withholding from Sarah Green in August 2011, even though Sonya Watkins' name was on the list for production of email messages that the Greens requested on December 15, 2011. That email was among the documents the District refused to produce to the Greens.

95. The Greens requested copies of all documents in the District submitted to the EEOC.

96. The EEOC responded within 30 calendar days, by providing all of the requested documents, and charged approximately $0.15 per page for those records.

MCCOY

97. On September 14, 2012, McCoy submitted a public records request to the District through the District's website using the District's online form.

98. He requested the following documents:

All emails and text messages between Dr. Dave Allison and Shane McCord, Elizabeth McCoy, EJ Anderson, Nikki Blanchard and attorneys at the law offices of Udall, Shumway, and Lyons [for] the period [of] May 2011 and September 14, 2012.

99. The District did not respond to this request.

100. On September 16, 2012, McCoy submitted a public records request to the District through the District's website using the District's online form.

101. He requested the following documents:

All emails between Dr. Dave Allison and the law firm of Holm Wright Hyde & Hays for the period of January 2, 2102 and September 15, 2012.

102. The District did not respond to the request.

103. That same day, McCoy made a separate public records request to the District through its website using the District's online form.

104. He requested the following documents:

All emails and text messages between Brian Yee and Michele Chapin for the period from May 1, 2012 thru September 15, 2102.

105. The District did not respond to this request.

106. On September 17, 2012, McCoy submitted a public records request to the District through the District's website using the District's online form.

107. He requested the following documents:

Gilbert Public Schoolos [sic] policy and procedures for the interviewing and hiring of Administrators.

108. The District did not respond to the request.

109. On September 24, 2012, McCoy submitted a public records request to the District through the District's website using the District's online form.

110. He requested the following documents:

Emails and text messages between Brian Yee and Kelly Lambeth for the period August 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011.

111. The District did not respond to the request.

112. That same day, McCoy made a separate public records request to the District through its website using the District's online form.

113. He requested the following documents:

Emails and text messages between Shane McCord and Joyce Meyer for the period March 1, 2008 and May 31, 2011.

114. The District did not respond to this request.

115. On September 24, 2012, McCoy submitted a public records request to the District through the District's website using the District's online form.

116. He requested the following documents:

Emails and text messages between Brian Yee and Kelly Lambeth for the period August 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011.

117. The District did not respond to the request.

REQUEST FOR RELIEF

Plaintiffs seek the following relief:

A. an order compelling the Defendants to immediately provide copies of the requested public records;

B. a determination the Defendants' charges for copies are unreasonable, determine the appropriate charges and order Defendants to reimburse Plaintiffs for all excessive charges.

C. an award of damages, costs, and attorneys' fees pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 12-341, 12-348, 12-2030, and 39-121.02; Rule 4(g), Ariz. R. P. for Spec. Actions; and the private attorney general doctrine; and

D. such other and additional relief as may be just and proper.

[Signatures and verifications follow.]


We'll post other court documents as this case proceeds.


Sarah's federal lawsuit is here: National Board Certified Teacher Sues Gilbert Public Schools for Retaliation. Be sure to read about the lawsuit filed by a GPS teacher for discrimination based on race and national origin. You can read the Notice of Claim filed by an assistant principal who was subjected to discrimination, harassment and retaliation after she reported a hostile work environment based on illegal sexual harassment at Highland Junior High School. This is quite a school district!

For a long time, Governing Board member Staci Burk has wanted to set up a system where teachers and other district staff can address the board without fear of retribution.  This has been a bad year for Gilbert Public Schools in that regard.  Teachers, support staff and citizens have attempted to bring information directly to the board, after being rebuffed by the administration.  The result: more and more expenditures of taxpayers' money in legal fees to "investigate" those employees and citizens.

Damage to the reputation of the district can be traced directly to participants in this sordid episode: Superintendent Dave Allison, Associate Superintendent Nikki Blanchard, Assistant Superintendent Shane McCord, Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield, Assistant for Human Resources Jeff Filloon, Principals Vicki Hester, Jason Martin, BrianYee and Debbie Singleton, President of the Gilbert Education Association Diane Drazinski, and attorney Denise Lowell-Britt.  May Karma bring each of you what you so richly deserve.


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Gilbert Public Schools, Arizona Anti-Bullying Law, racial discrimination, elementary school bullying, classroom bully, GPS, Superintendent Dave Allison, Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Nikki Blanchard, Assistant Superintendent Shane McCord, Assistant Superintendent Barb VeNard, Spectrum Elementary School principal Debbie Singleton, Highland Park Elementary School principal Jason Martin, Meridian Elementary School principal Vicki Hester, GPS, Gilbert Education Association, GEA President Diane Drazinski, Arizona Education Association, AEA, attorney Denise Lowell-Britt, Udall, Shumway & Lyons, Mesa, Phoenix, attorney Donald Peder Johnsen, Gallagher & Kennedy, Phoenix, Civil rights, violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 703, national origin discrimination, retaliation for engaging in protected activities, retaliation for association with protected persons, illegal retaliation, hostile work environment, harassment, dismissal of certificated teacher, Arizona Revised Statutes, ARS 15-539, Arizona Civil Rights Act, Arizona Attorney General, Arizona Civil Rights Division, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, General Prohibition Against Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment, fire teacher, National Board Certified Teacher, dismiss teacher for reporting bullying and racial discrimination, defamation, destroying a teacher's reputation, Gilbert Unified School District, GUSD, due process, gilbertschools.info  Ted and Kelly *****, Heather Adams, Jeffrey Filloon, Shawn McIntosh, Progressive Documentation, How to Fire a Teacher, How to Fire Classified Employees, Certified Employees, FERPA violations, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act violations, GUSD Board Members E.J. Anderson, Lily Tram, Helen Hollands, Staci Burk, Blake Sacha, Julie Smith, Daryl Colvin, Jill Humpherys