Q&A: Resignation letter request


From the Journal & Courier (Lafayette):

Q: I have requested the resignation letter for an employee from a public school district, but the superintendent has denied my request and stated that the letter in question is not a public record until after the school board has voted to accept the resignation. Can a school district withhold a resignation letter until after board action?

A: You may be out of luck. While a resignation letter received by the school district is a public record, the question is whether it’s disclosable, mandated by law to be confidential, or a record that can be released or kept secret at the discretion of the public agency.

In this case, the letter would be part of that employee’s personnel file. Under the Access to Public Records Act, personnel files generally fall under that discretionary category. See IC 5-14-3-4(b)(8).

So I suggest you not push too hard for the letter before it’s accepted because they might decide they don’t want to give it to you at all. Right now it sounds like they might be willing to do so after the school board vote.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.