And Then, Just Like That, Student Privacy Didn't Matter in Manchester - Granite Grok

And Then, Just Like That, Student Privacy Didn’t Matter in Manchester

Mayor Joyce Craig

Mayor Craig sits atop the Board of School Committee. By all accounts, her office, the Mayors office, is heavy-handed in that role. The as-yet-unconfirmed rumor is that this interference is behind the abrupt departure of Superintendent Bolgen Vargas. It is also in play when it comes to partisan politics, student privacy, and the law.

Plenty of Time to Smear a Republican

Democrat members of the Manchester Board of School Committee colluded with Union Teachers and others to create a political spectacle. The object of this theater was fellow Board Member Rich Girard. The Third Act of the play was meant to drive Mr. Girard, a Republican, from his seat on that committee. Out of Manchester politics if possible.

The weapon of choice was a students privacy. Democrat Board member David Scannell lead the assault. The impetus an email leaked to the board and the press. A board that spent copious amounts of time exploring the implications, whose nonsense we’ve reported and rebutted here.

  • The “student” is not a minor. They are voting constituent.
  • This voter expressed a political opinion in a public space.
  • The opinion was directed at the activities of the subcommittee which Mr. Girard leads.
  • That everyone on the Manchester School District Staff and Students SAU37 Mail system can find and email anyone else by typing their name in the search bar.
  • That there are no prohibitions, legal or otherwise, against using email in this manner.
  • The communication was specific to the issue raised by the voter.

Mr. Girard exercising free speech rights with regard to a voting age adult did not violate any rule, law, or anyone’s privacy but it was deliberately made public and excoriated as such in the Board of School Committee and the press. 

But in his unhinged desire to dirty up Mr. Girard on the issue of privacy, Democrat David Scannell violated that same student’s privacy. Scannell leaked a confidential letter from the student’s lawyer to the press to keep the non-scandal on the agenda.

These antics consumed, as noted above, copious amounts of Board time on the care and feeding of a baseless political hit. Mayor Craig both allowed it and commented on it. But now that an actual crime has taken place, and the Student’s privacy has factually been violated, Democrat Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig would like to move along.

The Union Leader quotes Craig as saying,

“We have many pressing issues that we need to focus on,” Craig said. “Finding a new superintendent, developing the school district budget, improving early literacy, improving graduation rates, decreasing truancy, finalizing contracts for district employees, and I could go on. This board needs to set its sights on these priorities, and not on each other. It’s a new year, and we have the opportunity to show that we can work together in the best interest of students.”

Just not student privacy, now that the object of such investigation is a Democrat?

Mayor Craig, Are Democrats Above the Law?

Mr. Scannell is a Democrat. He has violated RSA 42:1-a.

42:1-a Manner of Dismissal; Breach of Confidentiality. –
I. The manner of dismissing a town officer who violates the oath as set forth in RSA 42:1 shall be by petition to the superior court for the county in which the town is located.

II. Without limiting other causes for such a dismissal, it shall be considered a violation of a town officer’s oath for the officer to divulge to the public any information which that officer learned by virtue of his official position, or in the course of his official duties, if:

(a) A public body properly voted to withhold that information from the public by a vote of 2/3, as required by RSA 91-A:3, III, and if divulgence of such information would constitute an invasion of privacy, or would adversely affect the reputation of some person other than a member of the public body or would render proposed municipal action ineffective; or

(b) The officer knew or reasonably should have known that the information was exempt from disclosure pursuant to RSA 91-A:5, and that its divulgence would constitute an invasion of privacy, or would adversely affect the reputation of some person other than a member of the public body or agency, or would render proposed municipal action ineffective.

III. No town officer who is required by an order of a court to divulge information outlined in paragraph II in a legal proceeding under oath shall be guilty of a violation under this section.

We’ve called for him to step down because his behavior was both illegal and unethical. But with a bit of prodding from Mayor Craig, we’d like to add wasting taxpayer time. There’s no law against that, but seeing as Scannell’s already broken the one for which he tried to hang Mr. Girard out to dry, it seems fitting someone investigate Mr. Scannell. 

Then, Just Like That, Privacy Didn’t Matter

Scannell admits to leaking the confidential document after it was suggested the matter be moved to Superior Court. The Mayor seems content to rest on her partisan laurels. But if their adult daughter’s privacy is that important why haven’t her politically motivated active Democrat parents themselves asker her lawyer to push the investigation into Scannell beyond the safety of a Democrat majority Board lead by a Democrat Mayor?

Is it safe to say that in Manchester Student privacy doesn’t matter unless it can be used to take out a prominent Republican?