By Michael Halstead, Hartwood
During the Stafford County School Board, a sitting board member disclosed personal information about a minor child, violating the minor’s privacy and putting their safety at risk.
I can only conclude that Dr. Elizabeth Warner’s callous disregard for the safety of the miner and the staff and students of the miner’s school was to influence the outcome of the recent Stafford County School Board election.
She provided the information to Ms. Alyssa Halstead’s opponent, Mr. Mark Broklawski, who was also running for a seat to represent Hartwood District ratepayers. I don’t understand the reason needed for Broklawski to be included in school board business without being a member of it.
It is unknown how this information was shared with others, but it eventually made its way into the hands of Dr. Robert L. Harris. Dr Harris then posted the underage child’s school name, address and phone number on social media.
By releasing the information, Warner and Harris put the underage child and Stafford County students who attend the school just up the street and county residents who use the area public library at risk.
Under state law, FOIA requests can be made verbally over the phone or in person, or in writing, via email, or fax.
“Except as otherwise provided by law, all public documents shall be open to inspection and copying by all citizens of the Commonwealth during the REGULAR OFFICE HOURS of the depositary of such documents,” according to state law as it reads. ‘it is published on county schools. Communication and community engagement webpage.
A FOIA request has been submitted regarding Warner’s actions to determine how the minor child’s personal information was disclosed. The application was filed on November 5.
The related documents were received from the Stafford County Public Schools FOIA Officer on November 19, 2021. After receiving an initial response from the relevant authorities regarding his request, here is a timeline based on the documents obtained from the FOIA request .
Halstead sent the first email as a private citizen and school board candidate is dated shortly before 8:30 a.m. on August 9, 2021. This email identified Ms Halstead’s disagreement with the current mask policy, but that the minor child would adhere to it. A follow-up email asking that all information about the child be withheld if the email would be released sent to the school board two hours later.
Three days later, on August 12, a third email regarding the mask mandate was sent by Halstead to the school board. Six hours later, at 11:43 p.m., Warner forwarded this mask mandate follow-up email to Broklawski. On August 13, Warner forwarded the initial mask warrant email without redacting information about the minor child. This email was sent to Broklawski at 10:13 a.m.
All correspondence and FOIA requests associated with Halstead’s communications with the school board have been covered as part of the request. However, no associated documentation or FOIA request from Broklawski or Dr. Harris would legitimize their possession of the correspondence.
Warner’s reckless behavior has broad implications for all of Stafford County. It could even be interpreted as a direct attempt to influence the outcome of the school board election by giving an opponent a perceived “advantage” of his position as an elected constitutional officer.
So how can Stafford County families and taxpayers trust Warner to do the right thing to protect our children and keep them safe? How are board members supposed to believe that Dr. Warner won’t continue to push her agenda while betraying the people she was elected to protect?
As a member of the school board, Warner is accountable to the taxpayers of Stafford County. She should also be held to the ethical standards set by the Virginia Department of Education.
In this case, she violated Principle 6, which states, “To maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to us by preventing unauthorized disclosure.”
It is vital for the safety of all children that his actions are handled at the highest possible level. At a minimum, she should be kept out of any leadership position on the board and reprimanded for her actions and the resulting irreparable damage.
Warner severed a bond that cannot be repaired by putting its political agenda before the students of Stafford County. If there was a way to submit an ethics violation against her, it would have been done already, but there is no governing body for the council, only the people of Stafford County.
Michael Halstead is the husband of Hartwood District School Board member Alyssa Halstead.
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