** UPDATE: The lawsuit has now been officially filed through DuPage County. Four parents have decided not to be named in the lawsuit.
Thirteen parents plan to sue Indian Prairie School District 204. including Superintendent Adrian Talley and each member of the District 204 Board of Education over an alleged cover up of COVID-19 planning when making decisions about reopening school.
What The Suit Alleges
The parents are alleging that Superintendent Dr. Adrian Talley and each school board member violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act by making decisions about the return to in-person learning in private sessions and communications.
“The intent of the Illinois Open Meetings Act is to protect the citizen’s right to know how the public’s business is being conducted. The suit will allege that the IPSD 204 has routinely violated the Act through the use of inappropriate closed executive sessions and private deliberations via electronic means outside regularly scheduled public board meetings in an attempt to avoid public criticism and accountability,” said a press release.
The press release alleges that multiple FOIA requests of board members’ electronic communication in which plaintiffs believed them to be conducting public business in privacy were “improperly” denied. Additionally, the group claims District 204 did not establish COVID-19 planning teams including students and parents, as per guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education.
“We are tired of the stonewalling. As taxpayers and parents, we deserve to know how the public’s business is being conducted. Our lawsuit was a last resort after months of arrogant dismissals,” said one of the plaintiffs Brad Wachter.
James Anthony Dugger, Jim Karras, Diana Karras, Michelle R. Schultz, Paul Repmann, Tracy Repmann, Timothy Monson, and Kristin Monson are the other plaintiffs in the case.
The parents in the lawsuit believe board members and Talley are making reopening decisions in executive sessions, which are held before public board meetings, or over emails. They argue that those meetings should have been deliberated in a public forum “due to its potential impact on the public.” They also say that any emails in which a quorum of board members was included and in which the public’s business was discussed should legally be disclosed.
“We believe that this has become such a pretentious issue that the board is trying to avoid public scrutiny and accountability by not letting their positions known on this issue of schools reopening,” said Wachter.
IPSD 204 said in an email “the district does not comment on pending litigation.”
The full lawsuit can be found below:
District’s Latest Reopening Plan
Their next board of education meeting will be Monday, March 22.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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