Personnel Records Private, Parents Not Told About Complaints

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- State personnel laws protect school employees' privacy but they also keep parents from knowing everything about the people they entrust their children's safety.

READ: Why Didn't Lawyers Get Driver's Record Before Mistrial?

On Monday, the man accused of hitting and killing 11-year-old Hasani Wesley accepted a plea deal and is now serving a 30 day sentence. Billy Bailey was tried in April for Hasani's death but the judge declared a mistrial after new information from Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools was reviewed.

WS/FCS was subpoenaed by the state to hand over all its documents related Hasani's case. The documents raised questions for the state about Hasani's bus driver, Stephanie Fulton.

The documents reveal the system's driving history for Fulton, "shows multiple bus driving infractions, including speeding, crashing into another pus, and entering a traffic circle against the flow of traffic."

When 2WTK pulled Fulton's record, all that was public was a speeding ticket from 1992 and another charge that was dismissed. That's because witnesses called the district about those other incidents. Fulton was never cited. That means those complaints are personnel - not public records.

"The mere fact that someone accuses you of something as a public employee, doesn't make it public," said Jill Wilson, attorney.

Attorney Jill Wilson says if a district gets a complaint about one of its bus drivers, it will typically conduct an investigation. That complaint nor the district's investigation will be made public. That is state law - not the districts trying to hide information.

"Anything that's substantial or serious enough for a school system to be concerned about the safety of children, generally results in some sort of action that would ultimately become public either a suspension or a termination," explained Wilson."It is in the interest of board of education to only have safe drivers driving their precious cargo."

Spokesmen from both Winston-Salem Forsyth and Rockingham County Schools say they notify parents of any accident, whether the driver is cited, if students are on board.

State law says if a driver is convicted of any traffic violation while operating a school bus, their school bus certification would be canceled. Without a certification, a person could not drive a school bus.

What information is public about public school employees?

-Date of original employment or appointment
-The terms of any contract by which the employee is employed whether written or oral, past and current, to the extent that the board has the written contract or a record of the oral contract in its possession.
Current position, title, current salary
-Date and amount of each increase or decrease in salary with that local board of education.
-Date and type of each promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation,or other change in position classification with that local board of education.
-Date and general description of the reasons for each promotion with that local board of education.
-Date and type of each dismissal, suspension, or demotion for disciplinary reasons taken by the local board of education. If the disciplinary action was a dismissal, a copy of the written notice of the final decision of the local board education setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal.
The office or station to which the employee is currently assigned


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