Editorial: Highlands shouldn’t appeal Open Records ruling | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Highlands shouldn’t appeal Open Records ruling

Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Highlands Superintendent Monique Mawhinney, acknowledges that the district has room to improve, and that it is a work in progress, during a public meeting earlier this year at Highlands High School.

Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

You can eat your co-worker’s unattended hoagie. You shouldn’t.

You can steal your neighbor’s newspaper out of his driveway. You shouldn’t.

You can paint your house PennDOT orange. You really, really shouldn’t.

And yes, Highlands School District, you absolutely can appeal the April 30 decision of the state’s Office of Open Records that said the Tribune-Review was right and the name of the employee the board suspended in February should be released.

But you shouldn’t file that appeal.

You have made it plain with your repeated actions that you believe the rules don’t apply at Highlands. You believe the Sunshine Act is a dim bulb you can flick off at will. You choose to keep secret any information you want, despite legal requirements to the contrary.

And you do it knowingly.

While you have three times in three months suspended and then fired anonymous employees, you have been advised each time that your actions were wrong. You still did it again.

But now it isn’t just a newspaper calling you on your error. It’s not just the people who live and work and pay taxes in the school district. It’s the state itself. And you still don’t care about “should.”

We know you don’t because this appeal is pointless. Why fight to keep secret a name that is already public?

The employee is known, although the name was not released officially. District Solicitor Ira Weiss confirmed special education teacher Andrew B. Kotyk was the employee placed on unpaid leave in February and paid a $31,202 settlement.

So why the appeal, Highlands? You lost on paper — and in the paper. You lost in practice. Why continue to waste taxpayer money on an appeal of a moot point?

These are the kind of questions we would like you to answer openly and in public. They are the kind of questions the Sunshine Act demands you answer via clear and freely available information for any red-blooded American who wants to know. And you can. You know all the answers and we are here to listen.

But you, Highlands, choose not to do that. Even though you should.

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