FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-476
September 10, 1997

In the Matter of a Complaint by Debra M. Gaudette, Complainant
against
Superintendent of Schools, East Hartford Public Schools  Respondent

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 20, 1997, at which time the complainant 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 October 30, 1996, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with access to certain records pertaining to a video shown to her daughter’s science class called "Time Out, HIV AIDS and YOU". Specifically, the complainant requested the following (hereinafter "requested records"):

a. all records between the respondent, his staff, or administration and teachers about the video;

b. all records between the respondent, his staff, or administration and any East Hartford Board of Education ("BOE") member about the video;

c. any records sent to any teachers from anyone in the respondent’s administration about the video;

d. any records from the respondent or his administration or staff to any employee of the BOE about the video;

Docket #FIC 1996-476 Page 2

e. any minutes or notes from any meetings between the respondent, his administration or staff and any BOE members about the video;

f. any document between the respondent, his administration or staff and any BOE member regarding any changes to the AIDS curriculum in the schools;

g. any minutes that relate to the AIDS curriculum and/or changes to be made to the curriculum, including the letter to parents allowing them to opt out of having their children participate in this class; and

h. any records between the respondent, his administration or staff to any teacher or any member of the respondent’s staff or administration concerning the showing of any videos in any class.

3. Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainant, by letter dated and filed with the Commission on November 14, 1996, alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying her access to the requested records.

4. With respect to the requested records described in paragraph 2a., 2b., 2c., 2d. and 2e. of the findings, above, it is found that none exist, and the respondent could have and should have so informed the complainant in a timely manner.

5. With respect to the requested records described in paragraph 2f., 2g. and 2h. of the findings, above, it is found that by letter dated December 16, 1996 the assistant superintendent provided the complainant with all records responsive to such requests.

6. It is found that the records provided to the complainant and described in paragraph 5 of the findings, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

7. It is also found that the December 16, 1996 provision of access to the records described in paragraph 5 of the findings, above, was not prompt.

8. It is therefore, concluded that the respondent violated 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with access to the records described in paragraph 5 of the findings, promptly.

Docket #FIC 1996-476 Page 3

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

1. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the promptness provision of 1-19(a), G.S.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 10, 1997.

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission

Docket #FIC 1996-476 Page 4

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:
Debra M. Gaudette
22 Higbie Drive
East Hartford, CT 06018

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

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-476/tcg/09101997