FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Edward Peruta,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-157
Joanne Prague, Vice-Principal,
Rocky Hill High School, Rocky Hill
Public Schools and Dr. J. A. Camille Vautour,
Superintendent of Schools, Rocky Hill
Public Schools,
Respondents October 28, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on  June 25, 1998, at 
which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, 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 respondents, as “officials” of the town, are public agencies within the 
meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
	2.  By letter dated May 12, 1998, the complainant requested access to all diaries 
created  at the Rocky Hill public schools by respondent Prague during the period of her 
employment with the Rocky Hill public schools (the “requested records” or “records”). 
The complainant elaborated that he might be willing to negotiate the redaction of names 
of students, but that he would not agree to redactions of descriptions of the conduct of 
teachers or students.
	3.  By letter dated June 5, 1998, respondent Vautour declined to provide the 
requested records, stating his conclusion based upon the advice of counsel that the 
records were the private property of respondent Prague and not public records as defined 
by the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act. 
	4.  By letter dated and filed on June 9, 1998, the complainant appealed to the 
Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the FOI Act, and requested the 
imposition of maximum civil penalties.
	5.  The respondents contended at the hearing and in post-hearing briefs that the 
requested records were not public records as defined at 1-18(a)(5), G.S., and, if the 
Commission found the requested records to be public records, that they were exempt 
based upon 1-19(b)(2), G.S. (together with 1-20a, G.S.), 1-19(b)(11), G.S., and 1-
19(b)(17), G.S. The respondents further contended that the records were at least partially 
exempt as records of teacher performance and evaluation pursuant to 10-151c, G.S.
	6.  Section 1-18a(5), G.S., states that:
"Public records or files" means any recorded data or information 
relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, 
used, received or retained by a public agency, whether such data or 
information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, 
photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
	7.  And 1-19(b)(11) and 1-19(b)(17), G.S., respectively, exempt from 
mandatory disclosure:
(11)  names or addresses of students enrolled in any public school 
or college without the consent of each student whose name or 
address is to be disclosed who is eighteen years of age or older and 
a parent or guardian of each such student who is younger than 
eighteen years of age, provided this subdivision shall not be 
construed as prohibiting the disclosure of the names or addresses 
of students enrolled in any public school in a regional school 
district to the board of selectmen or town board of finance, as the 
case may be, of the town wherein the student resides for the 
purpose of verifying tuition payments made to such school; …(17) 
educational records which are not subject to disclosure under the 
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 USC 1232g.
	8.  The requested records were submitted to the Commission for an in camera 
review on June 25, 1998, and a general review of these voluminous records has been 
completed.
	9.  It is found that the requested records contain information related to the 
“public’s business” of public education and were prepared as well as retained by a public 
agency (see finding at paragraph 1, above).
	10.  It is found that the vast majority of the records comprise informal notes 
pertaining to student disciplinary matters, occasionally with references to related family 
issues. It is also found that the use of telegraphic, informal references as well as 
references to persons only by name, without any other identifier indicating school status 
(eg. student, teacher, etc.), would make redaction determinations, even if warranted by 
law, practically impossible.
	11.  It is found that the spiral notepads used by respondent Prague to compile the 
requested records were purchased by respondent Prague with her own funds and not with 
public funds. 
	12.  It is also found that redacting the names of students would in the 
circumstances of this case leave personally identifiable information regarding students in 
many, many instances.
	13.  Based upon the findings at paragraph 9, above, it is concluded that the 
requested records were public records as defined by 1-18a(5), G.S. 
	14.  Based upon the findings at paragraphs 10, 11, and 12, above, it is concluded 
that the requested records are not subject to mandatory disclosure pursuant to 1-
19(b)(11) and 1-19(b)(17), G.S. See also Docket #FIC 1998-039 (concerning 
appointment calendars purchased by the subject officials with their own funds) and 
Docket #FIC 1997-227 (concerning statements from students wherein the mere redaction 
of students’ names was held not to ensure that their identities would be protected). 
Therefore, the respondents did not violate 1-19(a) and 1-15(a), G.S., when they 
declined to provide the requested records to the complainant.
	15.  As a result of the ruling at paragraph 14, above, on the claims of exemption 
pursuant to 1-19(b)(11) and 1-19(b)(17), G.S., the Commission need not review the 
separate claims based upon 1-19(b)(2), G.S. (together with 1-20a, G.S.), and upon 10-
151c, G.S. But see Ottochian v. FOI Commission, 221 Conn. 393 (1992), holding 
evaluative information exempt, particularly in light of respondent Prague’s duties which 
included teacher evaluation.
	16.  Also as a result of the conclusion at paragraph 14, above, there are no 
grounds for assessing a civil penalty against the respondents.
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
	2.  The Commission commends respondent Vautour for the steps he took 
to preserve the records at the time of complainant’s request, when the records 
were in the sole possession of respondent Prague at her home. The actions of 
respondent Vautour evidence a respect for the FOI law.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of 
October 28, 1998.

_________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
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:
Edward Peruta
38 Parish Road
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Joanne Prague, Vice-Principal, 
Rocky Hill High School,
Rocky Hill Public Schools
c/o Atty. Brian A. Doyle
Ferguson & Doyle PC
35 Marshall Road
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Dr. J. A. Camille Vautour, 
Superintendent of Schools,
Rocky Hill Public Schools
c/o Atty. Michael P. McKeon
Sullivan, Schoen, Campane 
& Connon, LLC
646 Prospect Street
Hartford, CT 06105-4286
Rocky Hill Teachers Association
c/o Atty. Ronald Cordilico
CT Education Association
21 Oak Street, Suite 500
Hartford, CT 06106-8001

__________________________
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission


FIC1998-157FD/mrb10301998