They Were Looking For Information
On Another Parent And Student
When They Discovered Douche Bag / Dirty Whore Post
From Former Superintendent's
On-The-Job, Web-Trolling Son
Raises Serious Questions
Douche Bag Detectives
How I Found Myself On Line
And Learned To Make The Most
Of My Taxpayer-Funded Time
By ANDY THIBAULT
The Cool Justice Report
July 15, 2008
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is available for reprint courtesy of The Cool Justice Report, http://cooljustice.blogspot.com
BURLINGTON, CT - Maybe former Region 10 school boss Paula Schwartz and her lawyer, Christine Chinni, had a bunch of reasons to suppress emails and other public records sought via the state Freedom of Information Act.
Schwartz had directed her son to dig up information on the father of a local student sometime around Monday, May 7, 2007.
Schwartz's son, Daniel, a lawyer for the Stamford firm Epstein, Becker & Green, wrote this in response, on May 7, 2007, at 10:43 a.m:
"Hi Mom: I did a search for your name on blogs. I didn't come up with your incident with that father … "
About an hour and a half later, Paula Schwartz, then superintendent for Region 10, wrote to Lewis Mills High School Principal Karissa Niehoff:
"My son did some searching about my wonderful dad in HCS [Harwinton Consolidated School] and found this … "
The documents are among the latest of hundreds to emerge in recent weeks.
Before getting to the discovery by Schwartz & Schwartz, however, certain questions are in order.
What was Schwartz telling her son about a student and the father from Harwinton? Had Schwartz deputized her son as a school official who had the right to know confidential student information?
Like Tricky Dick Nixon, did Schwartz have an enemies list and a plumber's unit to enact vengeance? What legitimate role could Niehoff, the high school principal, have related to the inquiry about a parent of an elementary school student in another town? Was she serving as consiglieri for a Nixonian plumber-like unit under Schwartz?
These emails are among many that Paula Schwartz and Chinni said did not exist following FOI requests and complaints beginning Aug. 1, 2007.
In a related development, Niehoff was suspended without pay for two days last month after the new superintendent, Alan Beitman, discovered she violated the Family Education Right and Privacy Act and the Professional Code of Conduct of the State of Connecticut for School Administrators. Among the batches of emails suppressed by Schwartz and Chinni was another in which it appeared that Niehoff committed the same violation.
The father who was the subject of the internet search by Schwartz and Schwartz, Frederick Boland, filed a letter of intent to sue Region 10 for $1 million last year. Boland alleged the administration violated his child's civil rights after his son accessed pornography on a computer at Harwinton Consolidated School, according to the Waterbury Republican-American.
Boland claimed the district had not provided a safe environment for public education because they hadn't done enough to stop bullying related to that incident. He also said the district violated his son's privacy.
Also last year, the FOI Commission cited Schwartz and Chinni for enacting a policy that violated FOI law. The policy required citizens to make an appointment before viewing public records. Boland complained about that and won his case. Even after the complaint, Schwartz continued to enforce the illegal policy.
While hunting for Boland, the Schwartz & Schwartz search team discovered what school bosses would develop into The Famous Douche Bag Case.
They found the personal blog post in which former student Avery Doninger complained about the cancellation of the battle of the bands known as Jamfest and referred to central office administrators as douche bags. While Doninger was punished, another student who called Schwartz a dirty whore received an award and was praised for her citizenship.
Could this all be a simple case of trying to squash a student with a backbone? Is this just about public school bosses trying to stomp on someone who doesn't buy into servility, but, rather, is an independent thinker, someone with initiative, a do-er?
Schwartz and Niehoff banned Doninger from running for re-election as Secretary of the Class of 2008 after she and other students sought community support to hold Jamfest. Schwartz, angered and upset by community input, cancelled Jamfest. Then, under public pressure, Schwartz ultimately rescheduled the event.
Schwartz, Chinni and Niehoff suppressed the write-in vote which elected Doninger Secretary of the Class of 2008 and presided over the seizure and suppression of free-speech t-shirts.
The Doningers are seeking -- among other remedies -- an apology for civil rights violations and recognition of the write-in victory.
New Haven U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz denied a motion for a preliminary injunction [immediate relief] last fall and his ruling was appealed to the Second Circuit in New York. That appeal was denied May 29. A full trial is expected on the issues in New Haven U.S. District Court.
In Stolen Election
Freedom Of Information Report.
ABOUT DANIEL SCHWARTZ AND HIS LAW FIRM:
Daniel Schwartz signed the "Hi Mom" email to Paula Schwartz,
Daniel A. Schwartz
EPSTEIN BECKER & GREEN, P.C.
One Landmark Square, Suite 1800
Stamford, CT 06901
Here is how Schwartz is listed on the law firm web site:
In our Stamford office, Daniel Schwartz and Dean Singewald are co-chairs of the Connecticut Bar Association’s newly formed Diversity Committee, and work to promote Diversity in the legal profession with leaders of the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of Connecticut. The office also regularly sponsors the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity and the Urban League of Greater Hartford.
Note: They apparently forgot to add, Douche Bag Detective / Plumbers Unit.
MORE ABOUT THE FIRM:
Founded in 1973, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. (EpsteinBeckerGreen) is a national law firm with global reach that takes a "boutique approach" to five complementary areas of practice:
Health Care and Life Sciences
Labor and Employment
EpsteinBeckerGreen’s commitment to these practices reflects its founders’ belief in focused proficiency paired with seasoned experience. Each practice is comprised of teams of experienced attorneys with the flexibility to take on cases of all sizes, and the mandate to deliver truly professional service.
EBG’s national practices regularly share and access each other’s knowledge and resources to provide clients with tailored solutions to their legal and business issues. Understanding the complex evolution and critical trends within these areas enables EBG practitioners to provide clients with focused insight and deliver high-quality service and results.
The firm has nearly 400 lawyers practicing in 10 offices throughout the U.S. – Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, San Francisco, Stamford, and Washington, DC. - and is a founding member of the International Lawyers Network (ILN), an association of over 90 select law firms with more than 5,000 lawyers worldwide. The ILN provides EBG easy access to high-quality legal services in 64 countries on six continents, which enables the Firm to effectively serve our clients wherever their businesses take them.
Our attorneys bring you cutting-edge knowledge and real-world experience.
You need legal knowledge tempered by real-world experience and an understanding of the process from all perspectives. Our attorneys augment great legal training with experience as general counsels of major corporations, and service in key government positions with the U.S. Departments of Justice, Labor, and Health and Human Services; the National Labor Relations Board; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; various U.S. Attorneys' offices; and as staff counsel to congressional committees. One of our members of the Firm was former Acting Attorney General of the United States.
Our attorneys stay at the forefront of developments in their areas of practice by actively participating as faculty members at leading universities and law schools, and as members of professional associations around the world.They also speak before civic, educational and business groups, and publish regularly in legal and business journals.