IPA, TRRT file suit against District 205, LaVonne Sheffield
By Joe McGehee
The Illinois Press Association, The Rock River Times (TRRT) and TRRT Staff Writer Joe McGehee are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Nov. 3 against Rockford Public School District 205 and District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield.
The lawsuit stems from the district’s refusal to release an unflattering letter written by former Rockford Auburn High School Principal and current Freeport High School Principal Dr. Patrick Hardy. The letter was written by Hardy in response to District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield’s letter titled “Separation of Employment,” dated June 17, 2010.
According to the complaint: “The School District willfully and intentionally failed to comply with the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] in relying on a series of baseless exemptions, one after another, in an effort to avoid compliance with the FOIA and eventually abandoning those exemptions only to cite further inapplicable exemptions.”
The complaint also asserts that “In alleging those baseless exemptions of the FOIA, the School District acted in bad faith.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Donald M. Craven and Esther J. Seitz of Donald M. Craven, P.C., of Springfield, Ill.
To view the official complaint filed Nov. 3, click here.
Following are links to TRRT’s coverage of its attempts to obtain the letter:
• District 205 battles to keep unflattering letter private, Oct. 6-12, 2010, issue of TRRT
• District 205 challenges Public Access Council’s ruling, continues battle to keep unflattering letter from public, Oct. 13-19, 2010, issue of TRRT
• District 205 yet to release unflattering letter, Oct. 20-26, 2010, issue of TTRT
• Board of Education says little about battle over unflattering letter, Nov. 3-9, 2010, issue of TRRT
• Editorial: Public must take stand in battle for unflattering letter, Nov. 3-9, 2010, issue of TRRT
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