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Ari Schechter, 603-227-6679

November 19, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. – The ACLU of New Hampshire, The Concord Monitor, and Concord resident Dellie Champagne filed a lawsuit under the state’s Right-to-Know law challenging the Concord School District’s decision to withhold an over 100-page report that details its response to complaints of inappropriate behavior by a former teacher.

“The taxpayers, parents, and residents of Concord have a right to gain access to this report,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Despite the Concord School District’s recognition that it made mistakes, it has kept the public in the dark as to what exactly the District knew and did. The public deserves full transparency as to what happened in this case."

The report, prepared by an independent investigator, was submitted to the Concord School Board on September 23, 2019. There is reason to believe that the report shows a failure in how the District responded to allegations that the teacher was abusing children, as the District’s Superintendent and High School Principal were fired two days after the report was received by the school board. To date, the District has provided no public explanation for the terminations. 

The lawsuit specifically excludes information in the report that could lead to identification of victims and their families, as well as witnesses who are not or were not employed by the school district.  The District relies upon the “internal personnel practices” exemption in deciding to keep this report secret. This exemption is also the subject of three pending New Hampshire Supreme Court cases which will be heard on November 20, 2019. The ACLU-NH is counsel in two of these cases.

More information about this case is available here: https://www.aclu-nh.org/en/cases/champagne-aclu-nh-and-concord-monitor-v-concord-school-district.

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