February 14, 2022 by Heather Kovar

Fulton County, NY (WRGB) —A local Congresswoman is once again calling out a Fulton County school district. Elise Stefanik says she has sent a letter appealing to Mayfield Central School District’s refusal to respond to her Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request over a Pre-k teacher placed on leave.

“The FOIL deadline was on Friday. The school district did not respond. By law, they have to,” said Stefanik.

After a Pre-K teacher was put on leave last month, a social media outcry in her support began, including #IStandWithCarey.

Congresswoman Stefanik also posted her support, and claimed the reason for action was the teacher shared one of her anti-mask posts.

CBS 6 asked her about the school district refuting her claims.

“They said that your posts were misleading, that that’s not what happened, but yet they won’t tell us what happened?” asked Heather Kovar.

That’s correct. We will find out all of the information, if they respond to the Freedom of Information request, which they are required to by law. Taxpayers and residents of the Mayfield Central School District deserve accountability and that’s what I am going to fight for on behalf of the students and parents,” said Stefanik.

Stefanik says the teacher has been reinstated, but her questions, unanswered. When parents couldn’t get an explanation, they turned to Mayfield Mayor Jamie Ward.

He told CBS 6 over the phone he is shocked if the district has defied a FOIL request from Congresswoman Stefanik and “I’m very disappointed. “

He said there should have been transparency from the beginning, and asks if this can happen to a well respected teacher, who else could it happen to in the future.

“They have not responded and we are going to demand accountability and transparency because what this is about, this is about parents and students making sure their voices are heard,” said Stefanik.

CBS6 emailed the school district to verify Stefanik’s claims, receiving a response on Tuesday stating, ““The district received by email a Freedom of Information Law Appeal from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office on Monday, February 14. It was then that it came to the district’s attention that the congresswoman’s initial FOIL request made on February 3 had been inadvertently overlooked in the recipient’s email inbox. Upon receiving the second request, the district immediately began working to gather the required pieces as allowed by law.

Please know that the lack of response from the district was not a “refusal” as Ms. Stefanik calls it in her statement. It is, however, a regrettable oversight that the district is working to quickly correct.

The MCSD is committed to transparency in its practices. However, the district also is committed to protecting the privacy of its employees, and, as such, is limited in what information can be released regarding personnel matters.”

Two weeks ago CBS6 was also told in a statement that it is inaccurate to say that the teacher was placed on leave by sharing a post of Stefanik’s, but that they would not comment further, saying this is a personnel matter.

Read the full article here.