WABE News
11:36 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Former Teacher Accuses DeKalb Schools of Violating State's Open Records Act

A former Dunwoody High School employee has filed a lawsuit, accusing the DeKalb County Schools of violating the state’s Open Records Act.  The suit asks for access to Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s text messages. The district said it let 37 graduation coaches go last spring due to budget cuts, including Cynthia Gipson .  According to the lawsuit, Gipson received a “tip” that Dr. Atkinson’s text messages contained information related to her dismissal. So, Gipson filed an Open Records request, asking to see all of Atkinson’s text messages.

The lawsuit alleges the district offered to rehire Gipson and some other former employees if Gipson withdrew the request. Gipson agreed. But, she alleges, di

strict officials then rescinded their offer. And, she says, they still haven’t honored the Open Records request.

That’s a mistake, according to state senator Emanuel Jones, who heads DeKalb’s Senate delegation.

“When they’re not responding, it just begs the question as to, ‘What are they hiding? What are they covering up?’" he says, "And it’s going to lead to more questions and it’s going to lead to more concerns from the public and all the other stakeholders.”

Jones has also filed Open Records requests with the district and says the documents he received were incomplete.

Officials with the DeKalb Schools and attorneys for Gipson and Atkinson could not be reached for comment before deadline.