[This article was first published September 24, 2021. September 30, 2021, a Fairfax County Judge ordered that Debra Tisler and I not disseminate the materials she received in response to a FOIA request. I took down the article, which included documents from the FOIA response. This came after Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) took legal action against me and Debra. Today, November 16, 2021, after over a month of Debra and I being censored, Judge Richard Gardiner struck down FCSB’s unconstitutional attempts to shut down our speech. Hence, this article is live again. Not exactly a breach of children’s or personnel privacy as FCSB tried to indicate, is it?]
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) leaked almost 1500 pages of its own legal invoices—and again breached the privacy of students, parents, and FCPS staff. The documents vary from being partially redacted to being entirely free of redactions.
In addition to sharing unredacted information about Due Process Hearings and Equity and Employee Relations Complaints (including staff grievances and dismissals), the documents include information related to the following:
- Heartbreaking information related to children who died on FCPS’s watch, as well as the names of the children and their parents was included, as was information about FCPS’s restraint and seclusion problems.
- The licensure investigation related to Superintendent Scott Brabrand and discussions related to negotiating his contract extension.
- FOIA and FERPA requests are being vetted by FCPS attorneys and responses to the requests are being drafted by the same.
- The “Wheldon laptop” and “Wheldon Agreement”.
- Concerns related to litigation exposure.
- “Stolen credentials from Bluestone and FTI”.
- “Analysis of files provided to us by Maze on 10/3”
- “Call with Ms. Brady regarding Fairfax County breach reporting obligations.”
- Editing FCPS newsletter
- Skillsoft bankruptcy
- “No-cause termination for LT contract”
- “HIPAA Compliance Concerns relating to CareFirst subcontractor”
- Drafting motions for school board members
Some of the documents provide a behind-the-scenes view of cases that have already made headlines, such as the following:
- Restraint and Seclusion Class Action Lawsuit
- Cyber Hacking Investigation
- Blackboard Investigation
- Coalition for TJ Lawsuit
- Recall of Elaine Tholen
- Former FCPS Department of Information and Technology Maribeth Luftglass, who resigned after FCPS’s repeat failures to launch a fully functioning distance learning platform. Head of Fairfax Schools IT Steps Down, Teachers React to Distance Learning Tech Issues – NBC4 Washington (nbcwashington.com)
- Parent Bill Park’s OCR Complaint related to John Giannelli, Lake Braddock Secondary School’s (LBSS) former girls varsity basketball head coach, who FCPS found to have “engaged in improper behavior”. (Additional Reading: Feds investigating Virginia school after sex harassment complaints against coach | wusa9.com)
- Former Freedom Hill Elementary School (FHES) Principal Scott Bloom, who in 2019 was charged with failing to report complaints of suspected abuse that took place while he was principal at FHES. Grand Jury indicts former FCPS staff, school principal | Articles | fairfaxtimes.com
- Former Thoreau Middle School (TMS) Principal Yusef Azimi, who in 2020 was charged with failing to report complaints of suspected abuse. Police: Va. principal charged with failing to report alleged child abuse by former teacher | WJLA
- Last, but not least, my favorite: “FERPA issues and data exposure”. I hate to say I told you so, but . . . I told you so. FCPS has been breaching privacy for years and continues of the same path.
Law Firms Involved
The leak includes detailed invoices, with varying levels of redaction – from highly redacted to none at all – from the firms Hunton Andrews Kurth; Blankingship & Keith; Crowell Moring; Covington & Burling; Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins; as well as a number of other firms.
FCPS is required by law to make individuals whose information has been breached aware of the breach. FCPS did not provide notice of the breach to me (my info was breached again, too) or the individuals I’ve been able to track down, whose information appears in the documents, too. The way it should work is FCPS should make us aware of the breach rather than us making FCPS aware of another breach.
Almost last, but not least, there’s the money.
The cost of incompetence, of failing to simply run a tight ship, is expensive.
This isn’t chump change. We’re talking a range of hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions a month.
How is it that FCPS can’t provide a free appropriate public education to every student in FCPS’s system, but it has money to have lawyers write school newsletters and draft motions for school board members?
There are about 1500 documents.
Below you’ll find documents that fall under the headings of “Various Superintendent, Staff Matters”, “Investigation Into Cyber Incident”, “Internal Investigation of Blackboard Remote-Learning Platform”, and “Various School Board Members Matters”.
Please join me in again asking FCPS to hold its leadership accountable, in asking VDOE to hold FCPS accountable, and in asking the U.S. Department of Education and Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to expand the reports the released about Virginia last year. The problems persist and too many issues went unaddressed in those reports.
Click on the image below to view “Various Superintendent, Staff Matters” at a larger size.
Click on the image below to view “Investigation Into Cyber Incident” at a larger size.
Click on the image below to view “Internal Investigation of Blackboard Remote-Learning Platform” at a larger size.
Click on the image below to view “Various School Board Members Matters” at a larger size.