'Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser' Sues for Access to School Records

By: (AP) A lawsuit filed against the Montgomery County school board by the Montgomery Advertiser seeks the release of the names of public employees on administrative leave.

The suit asks a circuit court to determine if the school employee leave records are open to the public under Alabama law.

"The newspaper is concerned, and rightly so, that persons who interact with schoolchildren can be placed on administrative leave without parents even knowing about it," Dennis Bailey, attorney for the newspaper, said Monday.

The newspaper has been trying to confirm the name of an employee at Robert E. Lee High School who was placed on administrative leave Jan. 21 along with head football coach and athletic director Chris Baxter. A school board spokeswoman confirmed that Baxter was under investigation allegedly for having an improper relationship with a fellow school employee.

Executive editor Wanda Lloyd said the newspaper is focusing on the larger issue of the public's right to see such records. "Parents and others have the right to know how schools are being managed," Lloyd said.

School board attorney James "Spud" Seale said he disagreed with the newspaper's argument that teacher discipline notices and records should be made public.

"I guess now we'll let a court determine who is right," he said.


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