NC education agency investigating claim that former staffer's texts were illegally monitored
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is investigating a claim that someone illegally monitored a former employee's personal text messages using her old work laptop, which was still connected to her phone after she retired.Posted — Updated
An attorney for the State Board of Education confirmed the investigation when reached by email.
"The State Board understands that Superintendent Johnson’s office continues to investigate a former DPI employee’s allegations of unlawful surveillance," attorney Eric Snider wrote. "Board members have requested a further report on the status of that investigation and await additional information as soon as it is available. At this time the State Board cannot provide further comment."
Snider directed further questions to the state superintendent's office.
When reached by email Wednesday evening, the superintendent's spokesman, Graham Wilson, released the following statement: "We do not know where the text message came from. We are conducting an investigation to try to find out."
Wilson later sent a more detailed response:
The text messages were entered as evidence in an ongoing legal dispute between Istation and Amplify, a company that was not chosen for the reading contract. An attorney for Amplify argued at a hearing Monday that the texts should not be allowed because they were obtained illegally.
Attorneys for the state Department of Public Instruction and Istation said the text messages were provided by an anonymous source and are authentic because the former DPI employee provided them after she was subpoenaed in the case.
The state superintendent's decision to award the testing contract to Istation last summer drew a challenge from Amplify, a rival testing vendor that previously held that contract since 2013. The administrative challenge has been tied up in the state IT department, and a quasi-judicial hearing has been ongoing this week.
Johnson has repeatedly said he believes Istation is the best product for North Carolina students, teachers and parents and blamed the controversy on "the establishment political system" that prefers more of the same instead of change.
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