Seacoast Online is reporting that SAU16 has expended more than $28,000 in legal costs in less than six months. I’ve been wondering how much money they were spending on legal services to defend all of the court cases filed in this district.
Here is a list of those cases:
- Age discrimination brought by a former employee (Case dismissed –judge citing not enough evidence)
- Mask mandates brought by parents who wanted the policy to offer choice (That case was dismissed)
- A case filed by student who was told to remove Thin Blue Line Flag: charge of violation of free speech (Pending)
- A case filed by a student who was suspended from a football game for saying there are only two genders. Charge of violating his free speech (Pending)
- Resident seeking information through a Right to Know Request 91-a but not receiving all documentation requested (Pending)
The legal bills are piling up, and that number can go a lot higher. But should taxpayers be in this predicament?
I don’t know much about the first case, but I’m familiar with the rest of them. Mandated masks on children with no exceptions make no sense. There are plenty of schools that offer choices to parents. That court case could have easily been avoided.
The case where the student was told to remove the Thin Blue Line flag didn’t have to happen either. When leadership makes it clear that all views are to be respected, they shouldn’t have a problem, to begin with. If there are mistakes made, a sincere apology can also go a long way.
When there is mutual respect then these things can oftentimes be resolved without going to court. It sure makes you wonder why this has not been resolved. If that student was singled out, then there needs to be a fair settlement.
The student who was suspended from the game after exercising his free speech rights based on his religious views exposed the intolerance in this district towards Christian students. This isn’t the first time a Christian student has been targeted with intolerance by a teacher. With all of the talk about diversity and inclusion, they are showing a great deal of intolerance in their school policies and how they treat their religious students. You can expect more lawsuits if this continues.
Finally, the resident who required documentation through an RTK-91-a shouldn’t be in court. It is astounding that David Ryan would rather pay a law firm than turn the documents over to the resident who requested them. What is he hiding? That’s what a lot of people are asking.
I requested documentation from Sanborn on the same subject of Critical Race Theory. It took them several weeks to gather the documentation, but they provided it all to me. Why can’t David Ryan do the same?
In court, the SAU16 attorneys argued that it’s not his job. The principals should be providing the documentation. So they are going to pay the attorneys $235/hour to work on this legal case instead of providing the documentation? Does this make any kind of fiscal sense? This sounds like mismanagement to me.
Why aren’t the board members insisting that these cases be resolved? Turn over the documentation. If SAU16 loses that case, they may be required to pay the attorney fees for the plaintiff too.
At what point will the board members start questioning this kind of management in the district?
I work with many parents who’ve had issues in their districts too. Most of the time these things can be avoided because parents don’t want to take their public school district to court. Most of the time they are dealing with a friendly and thoughtful administrator who wants to resolve issues, not waste tax dollars on attorney fees.
Sometimes these cases cannot be avoided, but the number of cases within the last six months should have the community questioning what is going on in SAU16? This is not the norm.