UPDATE: Phoebe Prince's death cost the insurance company that covers South Hadley $225,000. Not enough. Not nearly enough.
Emily Bazelon first filed her request with the Secretary of State Public Records Division and I would bet they found in her favor, as they did with me. But then the South Hadley Schools probably did what Amherst defiantly did with me: refused to comply.
Since the Public Records folks have no enforcement power they would have to turn it over to the Attorney General's office (which I quickly requested they do in my case). They however, sheepishly suggested I take it to Hampshire Superior Court where I'm sure I would win, but only after paying a $275 filing fee.
And the schools will use big city attorney Regina Tate to defend the stonewalling, while we, the taxpayers of Amherst, cover her $225/hourly fee.
Since Ms. Bazelton works for Slate Magazine she can afford the steep up front cover charge, although she was savvy enough to request court costs as part of the settlement.
My original request for any settlement agreements over the past five years between the schools and separated employees costing taxpayers a minimum of $5,000 resulted in 13 cases with a combined cost of $200,000 and unlike South Hadley, not covered by an insurance company.
What kind of message does that send our children when public schools buy their way out of a mistake using taxpayer money, and then spend even more tax dollars trying to keep the secrets buried?