RAYMOND – The ACLU of Wisconsin last Friday filed an open records request with the Raymond School District seeking information about Principal Jeff Peterson, specifically as it pertains to the basis for his ongoing suspension and possible termination.
Principal Peterson was placed on administrative leave in September and now faces a vote by the school board which could result in his termination. Serious concerns over the nature of the disciplinary action taken against Mr. Peterson – and whether he has been subject to discrimination because he is gay – prompted the ACLU to file this request. The ACLU is seeking the following:
- All records of communications from the following Raymond Board of Education members from July 2021 - present regarding Mr. Peterson:
- Audrey Kostuch, President
- Janell Wise, Vice President
- Gwen Keller, Clerk
- Amanda Falaschi, Treasurer
- Amy Helvick, Director
- All records of communications from Raymond Superintendent Dr. Michael Garvey from July 2021 - present regarding Mr. Peterson.
- All records from July 2021 - present regarding any investigation of Mr. Peterson for an alleged violation of school board policy or alleged “misconduct.”
- All records received, transmitted, collected and/or maintained by Raymond Board of Education members or district administrators which evidences, describes, or discusses the inclusion of LGBTQ+ issues in school curriculum or materials from July 2021 - present.
In a discrimination complaint, Mr. Peterson alleges repeated instances of sex discrimination, reporting that he was a target of homophobic comments and that the district cancelled his partner’s health insurance coverage, without warning, and was told that same sex partners cannot be included on family health insurance plans for any reason.
The complaint also alleges that Superintendent Garvey wanted Principal Peterson to teach a human growth and development class to fifth grade boys with another adult present so that he would not “indoctrinate” the students. Additionally, in an email disclosed as part of a separate open records request, a school board member expressed concern about Mr. Peterson teaching the class.
“Given the seriousness of these allegations, this request for records could illuminate the narratives driving school board decisions that impact the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Raymond schools, said ACLU-WI’s Deputy Advocacy Director James Stein. We hope this request will help provide that transparency.”