WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. — The Whitley County Consolidated School District (WCCS) is threatening legal action against a parent for speaking out against mask mandates. The district has hired outside counsel and is now demanding the parent not communicate with any teacher, staff or administrator about anything, including issues dealing with his own children. It turns out, one of the district’s board members is also a partner at that law firm.
In a letter dated November 23rd, attorney John Whiteleather writes, in part, “until advised to the contrary all communications or contact of whatsoever nature between you and any and all administrators, faculty and staff of WCCS shall be directly through my office. In other words, you are to immediately cease and desist all communications or contact directly or indirectly with or to the employees of this school system…”
“You need to understand that this school system is required to comply with the federal mandate that all students are required to wear appropriate face masks which (sic) occupying our school busses.” Whiteleather continues. “Again, Mr. Stafford, from now on any communication or contact with each and every one of the administrators, faculty, staff and all other employees of Whitley County Consolidated Schools must be directly through my office. Your failure or refusal to comply with this directive will require further action, including legal proceedings.”
You can read the entire letter below.
Whiteleather is a partner at the firm Bloom, Gates, Shipman and Whiteleather. Another partner at the firm, Timothy Bloom, is currently the Vice President of the WCCS Board of School Trustees. REAL News Michiana reached out to the firm more than a week ago to get comment on both the obvious conflict of interest and the letter sent to the parent. As of publication, nobody from the firm has responded.
“It’s a very broad, broad letter.” Damien Stafford, who has two children in the school district, said. “It’s all because I’ve been outspoken against the mask mandate.” Stafford, who is also a combat veteran of the Iraq War, added.
“If I didn’t speak, I’ve had someone read something from me at every school board meeting since May I believe.” Stafford told RNM about his recent involvement with the school district. “I’ve talked to the transportation director, assistant principals, principals, everybody. I’m just saying, ‘Hey, look, this isn’t right. My kids are being forced off of the bus and there are others who aren’t (wearing masks getting forced off).”
“(My main issue is) whether we agree or disagree with the mask mandate, at least make sure it’s fair.” He said. “We can have a debate about the mask mandate later, after they enforce it equally across the board.”
“This letter is them trying to silence me.” Stafford added. “They’re trying to shut me up. I’m not going anywhere and they think they can scare me away.”
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