FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Bruce F. Gaudette and Debra M. Gaudette ,  

Complainant

 

against

Docket #FIC 1996-213

Superintendent of Schools, East Hartford Public Schools,  

Respondent

February 26, 1997

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 25, 1996, at which time the complainants and respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. It is found that by letter dated May 22, 1996 ("May request"), and sent to the respondent by facsimile transmission on or about May 22, 1996, the complainants requested that the respondent provide them with a copy of the following records relating to a videotape and the teacher who played the videotape for her students:

(a) the teacher’s training or certification in the subject matter of the videotape;

(b) of any disciplinary action taken against the teacher for showing the videotape; and

(c) the school’s or board of education’s policy concerning the acquisition and use of videotape materials found in the school’s media center.

3. It is found that the respondent directed his assistant superintendent to respond to the May request, and with cover letter dated May 24, 1996, the assistant superintendent provided the complainants with documentation concerning the same subject matter as that portrayed on the videotape, but no records that were the subject of the May request.

4. By letter of complaint dated May 28, 1996 and filed with the Commission on May 31, 1996, the complainants alleged that the respondent failed to respond to, or comply with their May request.

5. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

6. In relevant part, 1-15(a), G.S., provides that:

[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.

7. It is found that the documentation provided to the complainants does not constitute compliance with their May request.

8. The respondent contends that there are no responsive documents other than those records already provided.

9. It is found that the assistant superintendent did not search the respondent’s files for the records described in paragraph 2(a) of the findings, above.

10. Upon these facts, it is concluded that the respondent has failed to prove that there are no other records responsive to the complainants’ request, as described in paragraph 2(a) of the findings, above.

11. Consequently, it is also concluded that the respondent violated 1-15(a), G.S., with respect to the complainants’ request , as described in paragraph 2(a) of the findings, above.

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

1. Within seven (7) days of the date of mailing the notice of final decision in this case, the respondent superintendent shall search his files for the records identified in paragraph 2(a) of the findings, above, and either provide the complainants with copies of the requested records as more fully identified in paragraph 2(a) of the findings, above, free of charge, or furnish to the complainants an affidavit stating that he conducted a diligent search of this files and the requested records do not exist.

2. Henceforth the respondent shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-15, G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 26, 1997.

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

Bruce F. Gaudette
Debra M. Gaudette
22 Higbie Drive
East Hartford, CT 06108

Superintendent of Schools, East Hartford Public Schools
c/o Kevin M. McGlinchey, Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103-2819

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-213/FD/eal/03071997