Posts from several weeks ago about STOTW Joel Chandler continue to draw concerned comments and in some cases, angry comments, from people in Florida who fear that their identities will be stolen as a result of the school districts in question providing Mr. Chandler with records he is legally entitled to under Florida’s Sunshine Law.
I haven’t approved all the comments; one person in particular wants me to publish information he (or she) has dug up about Mr. Chandler’s children and other relatives. This blog isn’t going to be a forum for someone to exercise a gotcha on Mr. Chandler’s children.
This is information he has been able to locate online through spending an apparently huge amount of time google-searching Chandler’s family members.
I would note that proving that an individual can dig up information online about the children of someone you don’t like or wish to embarrass or intimidate is not a very good way to come across as wanting to protect children.
My sense is that the most immediate concern that teachers in Florida have about the information people can (legally) get in Florida according to the state’s laws is that their children might be targeted as a result of this information.
Protecting children should always be our first priority–whether they are the children of people we like or the children of people we don’t like.
One feature of my blog’s comments function is that after I approve one blog comment from a particular IP address, the next time that person posts a comment it automatically is published without further moderation from me. I don’t think it’s wise to open up access to comments here in that fashion to someone who has submitted several comments with information about Joel Chander’s children. But, here’s part of the latest comment this particular person wants posted:
“So in order to attempt to prove you’re not hypocrits you are you’re focusing on the names of his children? You could have edited that out if you were so concerned. He’s got the names of my children but you’re not concerned about that are you? And he has said he is considering being vindictive with this information.”
This person also wants me to publish information about other relatives of Mr. Chandler, as well as information that is publicly available about Mr. Chandler online.
A few thoughts:
First, anyone can publish a blog. It’s free. I’m not going to publish information on this blog about Mr. Chandler’s children and other relatives. But my would-be commenter is certainly free to do that, if he wants people to have the information he wants to share with them.
Second, the information that this commenter wishes me to publish is apparently already available online. It’s not clear to me how proving that anyone, regardless of motive, can find out lots and lots of information about people online–without having to even go to the trouble of filing an open records requests–says anything one way or the other about what records ought, legally, to be available to the public in Florida.
I believe from the comments I’ve gotten that some teachers in Florida are deeply concerned that Mr. Chandler plans to use the information he has obtained through open records to hurt people. If this is true, it’s a matter for watchful law enforcement. The fact that Chandler could, in many cases, have discovered much information online about teachers–just as my would-be commenter has rounded up lots of information about Chandler and his children just by finding what’s already available–suggests that if what Chandler wanted to do was hurt people, he had means at his disposal other than filing a very public records request.
The right people to notify if there is a fear that Mr. Chandler will hurt teachers or children is not a blogger but law enforcement authorities.