According to one local parent who spoke with Californians Aware recently, spent an estimated $300,000 in attorney fees in an effort to keep a student’s records secret.
Californians Aware, a nonprofit that aims to keep people informed of government and other large institutions' actions and keep them accountable, spoke with the student’s father, Mike Harris. Harris said about two years ago he attempted to get his son’s full student records from the district in connection to his son’s expulsion from the basketball team. Harris said he received some records, but not all.
A lawsuit followed, in which it was determined that RJUHSD violated Harris’ rights. The district was ordered to give Harris access to his son’s full records.
The district initially refused to pay Harris’ lawyer fees, according to the Californians Aware. Eventually the district agreed to pay Harris’ fees.
Now Harris is questioning the district’s attorney expenses regarding this.
“I estimate the district paid around $300,000 total to their lawyers and my attorney to keep me from seeing my son’s records,” Harris told Californians Aware.
“This is not just a question of them trying to violate my rights,” Harris told Californians Aware. “This is a question of how much money was wasted in the attempt. $300,000 is a huge amount of money, especially now in hard economic times when so many teachers are losing their jobs and so many school programs are being cut. The $300,000 should have been used to pay for teachers, books, or other costs related to educating our students, not a misguided and irresponsible attempt to deny me my rights as a parent.”
We’re reaching out to the district to get their side to the story, but in the meantime wanted to ask readers their thoughts on this issue. Do you think the district was justified in spending this much money in this case? Weigh in by posting a comment below.