Letter: Why I Voted to Protect School-Related Confidences

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I am a member of Laguna Beach’s school board—a five-person, majority-rules board. Each member has a voice and a vote. No one vote is more important than the others. No voice is silenced—every board member can vote on every issue.

As board members, each of us is a professional steward of the school district. This means we must have clear transparency on board business in public, and we must respect privacy on matters that are confidential. Confidential matters concern individual students, teachers, and staff, as well as ongoing litigation.

When the board addresses confidential matters, we do so in a closed (non-public) session. Under our bylaws, a board member “shall not disclose confidential information to a person not entitled to receive such information, unless a majority of the board has authorized the disclosure.” (BB 9011)

When board members use email to communicate about district business, we are required to use our official, district-supplied email accounts. (BB 9012) This allows the district to archive the communications, which ensures transparency as to public matters and confidentiality as to nonpublic matters.

Following these bylaws is not only a professional expectation; it is our legal and ethical obligation. Violating these provisions threatens the integrity of the board.

From public information requests, the board learned that member Dee Perry directly forwarded confidential email involving attorney-client communication. The district’s attorney marked the communication as “CONFIDENTIAL.” The person to whom Perry forwarded the email was not entitled to receive such information. Perry did not have the right to waive the attorney-client privilege as to this communication. And yet, acting on her own, she breached confidentiality.

If this were a one-off occurrence, I could excuse it. But it wasn’t. As we have learned, Perry has been consistently forwarding official email communications—including privileged communications—to her private email account.

Perry’s breach of confidentiality, coupled with her systematic forwarding of official emails to her private email account, concerns me deeply. The behavior fundamentally disregards legal and ethical obligations, exposes the district to liability, and threatens the integrity of the board. This is why I supported the recommendation of the district’s attorney that confidential matters now be handled by an executive subcommittee that, at least for the next year, does not include Perry.

To be clear, the purpose of my vote is not to “silence” Perry; rather, I voted to protect the confidences entrusted to us concerning students, personnel, and litigation. To frame it any other way, is incorrect.

Our goal as a board is to work as professionals. But if we are not able to trust a fellow board member with confidential information, it is our professional duty to take reasonable steps to protect the district. We have taken those steps.

Peggy Wolff,LBUSD Board Member

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7 COMMENTS

  1. This letter just clearly evidenced your own impropriety…and sadly, lack of intelligence. What a duplicitous group of elitists. Shame on you.

  2. Bravo School Board for voting to protect confidential topics and have a solution based action protecting us from having it happen again. If this board member had been at my company and broken those confidences…they would have been fired.

  3. The School Board is doing exactly what they should do, indeed must do, under these circumstances. It is a shame that this action was necessary but it clearly was. The community has to rely on the integrity of Board members to uphold their responsibilities and when they do not, actions must be taken to protect confidentiality.
    I support the Board majority for doing the right thing.

  4. Mad mama: You’re free to disagree with the writer, but I don’t think anonymous name-calling is a respectful way to do it. Is this how you want to teach your kids to discuss their differences? Or could you find another way to take a stand without having to rip someone else apart?

  5. Are you going to ask for her server? Start a lawsuit spending our tax dollars over ‘some secret’ within the school board? Wait, that last one is already happening. I find it interesting that the three Democratic members are attacking the one Republican on the board. I don’t want to think this trio is making partisan politics out of the school board. That would be too sad and reflective of our current political arena.

  6. “Mad Momma” doesn’t have the courage to give her name, and yet calls out a school board member for her “lack of intelligence.” These are the usual howls of the arrogant, condescending Left. You’re stupid, we’re brilliant, and therefore you’re always wrong and we are always right. Such pretension confuses intellect with common sense and good judgment. They are certainly not the same. Take the Unabomber, please, or Antifa, the Leftist bullies who wear cowardly masks as they beat those who disagree with them.

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