An investigation of a Hartland Consolidated Schools employee found “insufficient evidence” to support allegations that she violated the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
That’s according to The Livingston Daily, which reported that no wrongdoing was found on the part of Jeannine Gogoleski, a secretary at Farms Intermediate School, after an investigation carried out by the district’s law firm.
The investigation came after controversial comments made by Gogoleski’s husband, Glenn, a member of the district’s school board, on a local podcast in February in which he inferred that his wife had told him about incidents involving students.
“I will tell you, because my wife works in one of the schools,” said Glenn Gogoleski on the podcast. “There is so much that goes on that doesn’t get reported, doesn’t get watched. I want to see that. Absolutely. I want to see the kids that are the problems. I want to see the kids that come into the office and swear and throw things. Right now when a kid has a meltdown in the class they evacuate the rest of the class.”
At the time, Hartland Superintendent Chuck Hughes directly addressed the controversy in his weekly newsletter.
“The community reached out to me and other Board members in large numbers stipulating a concern that personal information protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) has been provided to Mr. Gogoleski by a school employee,” stated Hughes. “Parents are concerned that people who have no right to know details about their children are now in possession of this information. I have committed to a complete and thorough investigation into this concern. It is disappointing that the district has been placed in the situation of having to address these comments. I can assure every stakeholder that the district will continue to work tirelessly to create and support a safe school environment for all students while protecting their educational privacy rights.”
However, according to documents received by the Livingston Daily through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Allen Law Group, which had been tasked by the district on March 1st “to conduct an independent fact-finding investigation and provide a legal opinion into complaints received from district parents,” informed Jeannine Gogoleski that “based upon the evidence and witness statements, there was insufficient evidence to show that you violated FERPA.”
In a statement to the paper earlier this year, Gogoleski said she felt that she had been judged to be “guilty until proven innocent,” and expressed frustration that she had been so thoroughly connected to her husband.
“It seems with all the articles about me, I am always referred to as the wife of Glenn Gogoleski,” she said. “It would be nice and very progressive of you and your reporting, to think of me not just as someone’s wife, but as an independent woman with my own thoughts, opinions and feelings.”