BREAKING: DPI CONCLUDES INVESTIGATION INTO TEXT MESSAGE SCANDAL

Claim that knowledge of access to the personal account was limited to the K-3 literacy office.

Just before 4pm this evening, the North Carolina Department of Instruction released the following:

A Statement from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

The agency has completed its investigation into a former employee’s allegations that her personal text messages were accessed via a DPI-issued device.  The former employee admitted that she connected her DPI-issued devices to her personal text messaging accounts in violation of the state’s acceptable use and internet security policy.  The investigation concluded that after the former employee retired in October 2017, her former agency-issued desktop computer remained connected to her personal accounts and was transferred to her successor.  This individual was a social friend of the former employee and viewed the text messages as a source of entertainment and information on personal matters.  The individual shared the former employee’s text messages with at least one other career employee in the K-3 literacy division.  

Upon that individual’s retirement, the desktop was transferred to the career K-3 literacy employee.  That employee continued to view the former employee’s personal text messages and admitted to providing a screenshot of a text message conversation to her supervisor in February 2019.  The supervisor informed DPI leadership that the screenshot had been slipped under her door by an unknown individual.  Shortly thereafter, the employee disconnected the desktop from the text messaging account.  DPI has examined each device that was assigned to the former employee and has determined that they are no longer connected to any personal email or messaging accounts.  The investigation concluded that knowledge of access to the personal account was limited to the K-3 literacy office. 

For those of you who do not remember, this is related in part to the scandal surrounding iStation. The text message that was slipped under the door was the justification that State Superintendent Mark Johnson used to disband a evaluation team had been established to choose a reading diagnostic tool. The committee had chosen mClass but after the PRINTED OUT text message was shared with Johnson, the team was dissolved. The new team that was created recommended iStation.

With a normal State Superintendent, this statement that DPI has provided might be enough. Under Mark Johnson, this statement does not restore any trust in DPI.

It does not seem that anyone has been held accountable. When all of this started back in July of 2019, I called on Mark Johnson to resign. I renew that call today.

Mark Johnson’s removal as State Superintendent cannot come soon enough.

Talk about a Friday news dump.

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