AUSTIN (CN) – A teachers’ union claims the Austin Independent School District and the Texas Attorney General are preparing to invade teachers’ privacy by releasing misleading information on teachers’ supposedly “criminal” histories that will illegally release information about teachers who do not have such histories, and on teachers who do.
The Association of Texas Professional Educators says S.B. 9, of the Texas Legislature’s 2007 session, required teachers to be fingerprinted and submitted to a national criminal background check. “Under both federal and state law, such ‘criminal history record information’ is confidential and cannot be distributed to the general public. … In fact, even for entities who are permitted to acquire such information, it is a second degree felony to make an unauthorized use of this criminal history record information.”
The ATPE claims the Austin school district “took it upon itself to use this confidential information to prepare ‘summaries'” of its teachers. It claims these summaries contain enough information to identify the teachers, including their gender, date hired, campus assignment and position.
The Austin-American Statesman and an Austin TV station demanded information in FOIA requests, and Attorney General Greg Abbott said they should have it. The union says they should not. It is represented in Travis County Court by Bill Aleshire with Riggs Aleshire & Ray.