Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School Board Silent On Douche Bag Defense Costs

Editor's Note:

Channel 3's Eric Parker -- after inverviewing school board lawyer Thomas Gerarde -- reported that the lawyer for the defendants is being paid for by the school district's liability insurance and not taxpayers.

However, the deductible for the policy is $5,000. Local taxpayers fund the insurance policy. It is not unusual for rates to go up or for a policy to be cancelled when there is a big payout.

In addition, this insurance does not apply to "Dishonesty or Violation of Law," e.g., any claim based upon, arising out of, directly or indirectly resulting from, or in consequence of:

(1) Any act of dishonesty, fraud, or bad faith committed by or at the direction of the insured; or

(2) Willful violation of any federal, state, or local law or regulation by, or with the knowledge of the consent of, the insured.

We were just wondering, does anyone think tampering with students' personal records or suppressing election results could be a problem?

Nevermind potentially applicable federal criminal statutes including18 USC Section 1512: (c) Whoever corruptly-

(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding ...

In addition, school board lawyer Christine Chinni, who has billed local taxpayers about $60,000 through June of this year, attended the meeting. Chinni's meter runs @ $220 per hour.


Reg. 10 officials discuss free speech case costs

Register Citizen Staff

BURLINGTON - The Region 10 Board of Education held a discussion Monday evening about the funding of a lawsuit between school district officials and Burlington teenager Avery Doninger.

Board chairman Beth Duffy said before the public participation portion of the meeting that it is board policy and legal advice not to talk about any legal proceedings until they are completed. She invited residents to contact either her or the central office of the district after the proceedings have concluded.

John Schwartz, Burlington, asked the board where the money for the lawsuit was coming from. He asked if it would affect premiums. Duffy said that the board always has a line item in its budgets for legal activities.

Schwartz asked what would happen when the money was gone.

"We'll have to wait and see on that," Duffy said.

Schwartz said that his concern was that the money going toward legal proceedings would hurt teachers, kids and the education process, which he said he hoped it would not. He asked who was paying for the attorney.

"The other piece of that is we have insurance coverage," Superintendent of Schools Paula Schwartz said.

An attorney was hired by the board's insurance company, called Massamont Insurance. Board attorney Christine Chinni and Howd & Ludorf, the law firm hired by the insurance company, are both representing the board.

Doninger, a student at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, is seeking a temporary injunction to overturn the school's May 25 senior class officer election results.

Doninger's attorney, John Schoenhorn, alleges high school Principal Karrissa Niehoff and Superintendent Paula Schwartz unconstitutionally stripped Doninger of junior class secretary title, seized her campaign T-shirts, barred the teenager from delivering a speech to the upcoming senior class and prohibited her from running for 2008 class secretary.

The contested punishment by Schwartz and Niehoff came after Doninger posted a comment on her Livejournal internet blog site on the evening of April 24 from her home computer that stated the student council's band showdown "Jamfest" "was canceled by the douche bags in central office."

The case is currently in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

  • FOI Complaint: Failure To Produce
    Billing & Insurance Records

    TheCurve said...

    The tax payers are going to eat it big time. Might as well burn your money on the front lawn of School. While you're at it, take a serious look at home-schooling. Don't fret, it is courageous citizens like Ms. Doninger that remind us that we all have a responsibility to defend our civil liberties and hold those violators accountable no matter what their professional status might be. The tax payers of this town should be proud. Can someone let the Doninger girl know that there might be a promising job opening at the school?

    Anonymous said...

    Ms. Duffy says to wait and see. I can't wait to see what this will do to my already ridiculous tax bill next year, not to mention how many more Region 10 parents might decide to file lawsuits based upon what may be included in their child's discipline folder.
    Perhaps if Ms. Duffy and her cronies had done their jobs in the first place, there would be no lawsuit!