By Anne Lowe
PUBLIC INFORMATION An elementary school principal in Morgan Hill announced his resignation Tuesday after his school district's response to a Public Records Act request revealed at least 11 valid complaints against him in the past two years, reports the Morgan Hill Times.
The Times disclosed on September 3 that former Jackson Elementary Principal Garry Dudley, 61, was the subject of 18 complaints over a two year period. The complaint information was obtained by the newspaper in response to a Public Records Act request.
Dudley has refused to comment and deferred all questions to MHUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jay Totter. Totter and Smith would not comment on the complaints because it is a personnel matter, they said, though Smith did say that the district takes the complaints seriously and "is dealing with them." The school board of trustees has also heard and reviewed the complaints, and Smith said that "they value and are responsive to the concerns of the community." Board president Bart Fisher declined to comment.
??In the complaints, which were acquired through the California Public Records Act after the Times received dozens of phone calls, e-mails and visits by Jackson staff members and parents, Dudley is accused of sexually harassing staff members, verbally abusing students, including calling two Hispanic students "little banditos," sharing confidential information, failing to address the needs of the Hispanic community, not complying with Jackson's site plan and California Education codes, and making inappropriate comments to parents and employees.
??The Times also requested complaints filed against Dudley at his previous employers through the California Public Records Act. No complaints were filed while Dudley worked as a principal at Turlock Unified School District and because St. Helens School District is located in Oregon, its Superintendent Patricia Adams responded that the district "declines to provide you with the information your requested." Dudley was St. Helens director of curriculum and federal programs for one year beginning in 2004.
Dudley has taken advantage of an early retirement incentive of $25,000 as part of his resignation and he will officially retire before the end of the calendar year.
Hurrah! This is exactly the kind of thing that a Public Records Act is designed to facilitate.