Guidelines

I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Sunday, January 4, 2009

More Proposed Legislation on the Way to Shield Minor Dependent Information from Certain Public Records Requests

I have memorialized my disdain for the release of personal information about School District employees' minor dependents-- during public records requests-- via several blog posts here:

http://jeffbergoshblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/public-records-law-vs-employee-right-to.html

http://jeffbergoshblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/official-response-to-joel-e-chandler.html

I received an email this morning, informing me that State Senator Mike Fasano, District 11, will be sponsoring legislation to help protect the privacy of Public School Employees and their Dependents. I'm aware of the fact that State Senator Paula Dockery, District 15, will also be introducing similar legislation.

http://jeffbergoshblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/fl-state-sen-paula-dockery-drafts.html

Whatever final version makes it to a vote, I'll strongly support it if it allows School Districts to redact information on minor dependents before release in response to public records requests like the one Escambia County has recently received from Joel E. Chndler of Lakeland Florida.

Here is the email I received this morning:




Hello Mr. Bergosh-

I come from a family of teachers with ties to school systems throughout the state. My mother was a Duval County teacher. She passed away, but my father's fiance' is a Duval County teacher. My sister has taught in Alachua County, and my sister-in-law is employed wth the Orange County school system.

I've been following news stories and comments from around the state regarding the public records request a couple of months ago by Joel Chandler of Lakeland. It's deeply troubling to me that the names of my friends, family members, and especially our children are so readily available to anyone - and I certainly have concerns about this man.

I'm writing for two reasons. First, THANK YOU for bringing attention to Mr. Chandler's checkered background in your blog dated 11/19/08. Hopefully, in light of his past issues, more counties will fight this request. Secondly, there has been legislation proposed by a State Senator from Pasco County that goes further in protectecting school system employees and their families than the legislation originally proposed by Ms. Dockery of Polk County.

Sen. Fasano's legislation can be found at

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/index.cfm?Mode=Bills&SubMenu=1&BI_Mode=ViewBillInfo&Year=2009&BillNum=0468.

Please encourage those in your sphere of influence to help bring attention to a new online petition supporting this legislation and protecting Florida school system employees. The petition can be located at

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protectflateachers/.

It's important that whatever protection the legislature gives us is as full and complete as possible. Sen. Fasano's legislation provides much greater protection than Rep. Dockery's. It's critical that people with influence like yourself get on board and support this so that it will be impossible for our legislator's to ignore.


Thanks in advance for your help!

R. Johnson
Concerned for Florida Teachers

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