Sunday, February 15, 2015

Oak Ridge Schools Open Records Request Status Update

For reasons discussed here and here, on June 22, 2014, we submitted this records request to Alex’s former employer, the Oak Ridge School District.  Though  the documents we seek are a matter of public record and can be made available to  anyone who requests them, the Oak Ridge Schools’ attorney opted to deny our request based on the fact that Tennessee law does not obligate them to fulfill requests made by out-of-state residents.

Therefore, as we announced here, we retained an attorney (Hugh Ward) and a Tennessee resident proxy (Trina Baughn) to assist us.

On December 9, 2014, Mr. Ward sent this letter to the Oak Ridge Schools requesting the records we originally requested six months prior. Their attorney, Chuck Cagle, promptly responded on December 16, 2014 with this letter indicating that we could expect a response to our request by close of business January 31, 2015.

That date came and went and we did not hear from Mr. Cagle or the Oak Ridge Schools. Per Mr. Cagle’s instruction that our attorney only correspond with him, Mr. Ward has now submitted this letter on February 13, 2015 indicating  that we have authorized him to “consider court proceedings, as provided in T. C.A. 10-7-505(g) – which permits award of attorney’s fees and court costs for willful refusal to comply with the above. These actions will proceed without further notification to you.”

We do not relish the idea of having to go to court, but it is becoming clear that the Oak Ridge Schools have little desire to comply with our requests.

Progress has been slow but public interest has grown. Many people have generously given of their time to help us along the way, but that help will only take us so far. Some have suggested that we set up a Go Fund Me account so that we can afford additional professional assistance in the form of private investigators, forensics experts and various legal costs that will not be recouped under state law. Given the expenses we’ve already incurred and the obstacles we’ve continued to encounter, we have given that suggestion serious consideration and may attempt to launch something in the next week. We will continue to post updates here and on our facebook page of the same name.

As always, we thank all who have joined us on our journey and encourage you to continue to share our story via social media, word of mouth and any other means available.

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