Says complainant, Dr. Gina Nick, wasn’t even interviewed.

Attorney has a letter for the Calif. Dept. of Education

Steve Baric, an attorney and friend of Dr. Gina Nick, a challenger for the board seat of Trustee Karen Yelsey, told the trustees last night of his frustration over what he believes is a too-hasty investigation into the possible breach of confidentiality regarding records of Nick’s daughter.

Baric told the trustees that unless a “real investigation” conducted, the matter may be presented to the Calif. Dept. of Education for review.

In his comments, Baric cited an encounter with Yelsey at the Orange County Registrar of Voters office during which “[Yelsey] made clear she had information regarding the enrollment of a 6-year-old little girl.”

Here is the full, approximate transcript of Baric’s comments:

“I speak to you tonight as a friend of a parent in the district and as an individual who has served this community for over ten years as a senior prosecutor in the OC District Attorney’s office.

“I have served the community as an elected official and I’m currently walking our districts and hearing about [unintelligible].

“And I’m here to express frustration and disappointment.

“Two weeks ago, we came here with a lawyer expressing a sincere concern about private information on a 6-year-old little girl – a student in your district – that was disclosed. We asked for an investigation. we came here asking for an informal investigation – asking you to resolve the issue informally.

“We got a response within 48 hours that you had completed your investigation and that there was nothing more to do.

“The complainant, Dr. Gina Nick is a parent in your district but she wasn’t even interviewed. I wish somebody had interviewed me because I was there – I was present when Trustee Yelsey confronted us at the Registrar of Voters and made clear she had information regarding the enrollment of a 6-year-old little girl.

“[Looking at Yelsey] I watched you – I stood across from you as you said she wasn’t even enrolled and you [Nick] just moved into the district.

“The question is, how did she get that information so soon? And more importantly – what’s so crucial for all of you here to do is to ensure that sacred, important information was protected. And what we got back instead was after 48 hours a summary that the investigation was closed.

“So our next step is to go – we’ve written a letter to the California Deptartment of Education to get to the bottom of this, Trustee Yelsey – how you and your friends in the community have gotten information about where this little girl lives, where she used to go to school, and how you got it so soon: Within two days, you questioned a member of the Newport Beach City Council about your opponent using specific enrollment information.

“So, I’m thoroughly disappointed. As a DA, we would never have closed a case without speaking to the victim.

“So please… Maybe you want to rethink your summary conclusions and actually conduct a real investigation.

“Thank you.”

Me again. Baric is giving them way too much credit. The original request was submitted on Tuesday evening, Sept. 11. Nick was notified of the response on Friday morning. That’s two full days and while Baric is correct that it is about 48 hours, it’s actually only about 16 working hours.

In the reply to Dr. Nick, the district did not mention:

  • Who was interviewed
  • What questions were asked
  • What databases were checked
  • Whether the investigation was conducted by the district or an outside agency

What the district claims in their response to Dr. Nick is that no “NMUSD employee or official disclosed private student information” and that “no private student data was released by our district.”

So, let’s review:

  1. Confidential records were leaked: There has been no direct denial of this fact from the district or Yelsey. (Note: The denial above states that “no private student data was released by our district.” That’s different from “no private student data was released.”)
  2. The district says they are not responsible.
  3. So… if they didn’t leak the info, who did?

That’s what Baric wants to know and it seems to me that any parent would want to know the same thing.

Steve Smith

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