The school board voted 6-1 at Monday night's public board meeting to settle with the ACLU-NJ, which asked a Superior Court judge earlier this month to temporarily quash a subpoena issued by the BOE as part of an investigation into leaked student assessments.
The agreement states the board will not seek the identity of their client, who goes by the pseudonym "Assessmentgate", and that the online poster agrees to answer questions anonymously.
The school board issued a subpoena to Google last month asking for the identity of "Assessmentgate", who used a Google gmail account to blog on this website, as well as open Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The online poster has been a sharp critic of the school board and the school administration on social media as well as on BaristaKids, which was also issued a subpoena seeking the identity of Assessmentgate and three other commenters who have been critical of the board.
The ACLU's attorneys claimed their client had nothing to do with the 14 tests which ended up on a public website in late October just days before they were to be administered.
The security breach compromised the integrity of the assessments, which were created over the summer by teams of teachers who were paid nearly a half-million for their work.
The ACLU said revealing the poster's identity was in conflict with freedom of speech rights and that the school board was not authorized to issue subpoenas for this purpose according to state law.
Anne Mernin, the newest school board member, cast the sole dissenting vote.
Mernin said she could see why some members of the public felt the investigation was targeting those who are critical of the school board.
"I think it raised reasonable doubts in the public’s mind and could be perceived as a way that the board would discourage criticism from the public."
Board member Leslie Larson said there was no intention to uncover the board's critics.
"There was no direction from the board to go after critics of the board," Larson said. "That was never the intent."
A total of six subpoenas were issued as part of the investigation, Mark Tabakin, the attorney representing the school board, said Monday.
In addition to Google and the community website Baristakids, one school board member, David Cummings, was subpoenaed.
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