The Douglas County District Attorney’s office ordered Roseburg Public Schools to disclose a redacted form of the full report that details recommendations for improvements or changes to district policy following allegations of bullying within the high school volleyball program.
Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Podlesnik made the decision after looking over all documents presented to her by the Hungerford Law Firm, which is representing the Roseburg school district.
“After careful review, I have determined that the ‘Full Report’ by Tim Keeley — in redacted form only— must be disclosed to the petitioner,” Podlesnik wrote. “I have deemed the redacted portions confidential because they are statements by students, guardians/parents, and/or non-students subject to exemption.”
Superintendent Gerry Washburn said Monday that the school district had not yet received the full or redacted report, but was expecting the redacted version at the district office Tuesday or Wednesday.
The district received a summary report in December.
He did not issue a specific timetable as to its release to the public.
“Once we see it we’ll review it and hear what (attorney Nancy Hungerford) has to say, and then make a recommendation to the board,” Washburn said. The school district can appeal the DA’s findings in circuit court.
Roseburg school district’s Board of Education is scheduled to have its final meeting of the school year on June 13.
“We’ll approach it based on what she recommends and we’ll take those recommendations to the board, and that could easily be at the June 13 board meeting. We certainly have enough time to get it there,” Washburn said. Later, he added, “There would be nothing that would preclude us from presenting it in July. But without having seen it, I don’t know when we’ll present it and I haven’t heard (Hungerford’s) recommendations.”
The DA declared that the information disclosed by students — who had the expectation of confidentiality — would harm public interest, as well as statements made by other individuals. The DA’s office has redacted those statement from the report and any supporting documents.
The DA found that the Roseburg School District is the custodian of the records, even though board members and administrators never saw the full report. That report has been kept at the Hungerford Law Firm in Oregon City.
An investigation was started by the Roseburg school board in October 2017 after hearing about the formal complaints filed by six students against head coach Danielle Haskett and assistant coach Kari Morrow.
The initial motion asked for an investigation into the conflict and to recommend action. However, after consulting with legal counsel, the motion was amended to read “recommend improvements or changes to district policy and procedure” instead of “recommend action.”
Tim Keeley, a retired school administrator and university professor of school law, was retained by the Hungerford Law Firm to investigate, and he presented a summary report to the Roseburg Public Schools Board of Education on Dec. 13.
Leta Gorman, the attorney representing the six student-athletes who left the Roseburg High School volleyball team, made the request with the DA’s office to make the investigation records public.
Gorman asked the school to release the full report by Keeley: All correspondence between Keeley related to the investigation, all documents and photos used to prepare the report, and all documents and photos gathered during the investigation.
Podlesnik wrote in her findings that the full report does not appear to be subject to the attorney-client privilege exemption.
“It does not appear that the Board of Directors was seeking an investigation regarding legal liability since it was phrased as to ‘make recommendations for improvements,’” she wrote in her findings.
Roseburg Public Schools argued that the document should not be released because of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which is designed to protect the privacy of student education records. However, the DA determined that the report did not directly relate to a particular student or students, because the report focused on the investigation as a whole, and was therefore not exempt from disclosure.