Reynoldsburg withholds substitutes’ names from ‘Dispatch,’ citing safety

From The Columbus Dispatch Are substitute teachers who cross the Reynoldsburg Education Association’s picket line in as much danger as police officers who have been threatened by drug and motorcycle gangs?

Reynoldsburg schools Treasurer Tammira Miller appeared to think so when she rejected an open-records request from The Dispatch for the list of substitute teachers who are replacing striking Reynoldsburg teachers. The newspaper wants to check the credentials of these public employees.

Teachers’ names are typically a public record. But Miller said the district has a duty to protect the safety of the substitute teachers.

In a letter rejecting our open-records request, she cited a Columbus case in which a judge said that an attorney for members of the Short North Posse drug gang could not receive personal information about the police officers who had arrested the gang members. And she cited a case in which a judge said that Cincinnati did not have to disclose the names of police officers who had been in a shootout with a motorcycle gang.

The only case she cited that involves substitute teachers who are replacing striking teachers was one from Strongsville in 2013 that is now before the Ohio Supreme Court. Strongsville refused to disclose the names of substitute teachers. An appeals court said that, unless the district could provide evidence that the substitutes were in danger, it had to release their names. Rather than release the names, the Strongsville district appealed.

Though we asked, Miller has yet to provide evidence that Reynoldsburg’s substitute teachers have been threatened.