California Paper Wins Court Fight to Obtain Report on Dismissed Principal

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A state appeals court has ordered a high school district to release records detailing the dismissal of a former high school superintendent and principal.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the (Redding) Record Searchlight, which sued the Dunsmuir Joint Union High School District two years ago demanding access to a private investigator’s report into allegations that Dunsmuir Principal/Superintendent Bob Morris bullied and sexually harassed students.

The ruling said that “Californians have a constitutional right to access the records of their public agencies.”

“We’re very pleased with the outcome and the courts’ comments,” Record Searchlight Editor Kelly Brewer said.

Terry Francke, an attorney for the public records access advocacy group Californians Aware, said the ruling creates a new standard to which important public officials will now be held. He said that before Friday’s ruling “any time a superintendent or city manager … departed under a cloud, the public would never know why he was let go.”

Morris resigned in 2004.

Len Foreman, Dunsmuir High’s superintendent and principal, declined to comment until he talked with the school district’s attorney. The district could appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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