by Jim Walsh
Attorney at Law
Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C.
It wasn’t my idea that I should be named “The Blusterville High School Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love Valentine Heartthrob.” The girls in the senior class did this, Dawg. I had nothing to do with it. I guess they know that this is ol’ Mad Dog’s last lap around the track here, since I retire in June. So they say they decided to honor me on Valentine’s Day. Well. Seeing as how I have been hip deep in trouble with our new superintendent all year, this is something I did not need. Not only was it broadcast on the local radio that I was the “Blusterville Hunka Hunka….” but the girls came up with a Valentine poster, which has been distributed all over town. The poster is a fake job, Dawg. It shows my face on top of somebody else’s body. This guy is spread out to show his magnificent physique, wearing nothing, with a bouquet of flowers strategically placed to conceal the family jewels. The caption says: “MAD DOG BUTTS: STUDMUFFIN OF THE YEAR.” My old buddies in the coaching department have had a good time with this, giving me a hard time. Truth is, I think some of those flatbellied younger guys are jealous. Most of the folks in town see this as a good natured bit of tomfoolery, but there are two people who are a bit offended. The first is the missus, who told me “You belong to me, Studmuffin–not the senior class.” And then, of course, our famously tight ass superintendent (excuse my French!) weighed in with one of his famous memos. It reads like this:
Mr. Butts: I regret to find yet another instance of your inappropriate conduct on my desk today. I refer, of course, to the Valentine’s Day poster featuring you. Mr. Butts, it is inconceivable that the senior girls could have chosen you as the “Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love Valentine Heartthrob” without you leading them on. If you are not too busy posing for photographs, please review school policies on sexual harassment at your earliest convenience. You will find that it is a violation of school policy for a school employee to engage in any verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature with a student. I hope we can get through the rest of this very difficult school year without any further salacious conduct on your part.
HONKER, PH.D., Superintendent
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. This guy seems to wake up every morning thinking of some new way to harass me. Anyway, what should I do, Dawg? And, by the way, what does “salacious” mean? J.J. “MAD DOG” BUTTS.
DEAR MAD DOG:
We think Honker is a bit intemperate to write such a memo without first getting your side of the story. Jumping to conclusions can be dangerous. It looks to us that if anyone is guilty of sexual harassment here it is the senior girls. Your school policy prohibits students from engaging in “unwanted and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward another student or a District employee.” (See Policy FNCJ Local). So perhaps the superintendent should be looking into that. If we read your letter correctly, old buddy, we think you were not terribly offended by this attention. So perhaps the girls’ conduct was not “unwanted and unwelcome.” We hope you have not encouraged this behavior, but if anyone has does anything inappropriate here, it sounds to us like it was the girls. So we simply say “congratulations,” you napalm bomb of love.
We got a request pursuant to the Public Information Act asking us to produce every document that contains a date from January 1, 2000 to the present. HELLO! We sent a curt reply: We got your request under the PIA for every record that contains a date from January 1, 2000 to the present. HELLO!! You are kidding, right? If not, then you are overly broad. Next time, please pare your request down to something more reasonable. We don’t have time or resources sufficient to deal with requests for such voluptuous records. Does that sound OK? HELLO!
Hmmm. Sounds familiar. We seem to have heard about this issue from another source. See the next letter.
I recently made a request of my local school district for certain documents that contain public information. As you are well aware, Dawg, the Texas Public Information Act encourages complete transparency. As the Act itself states, “government is the servant and not the master of the people.” So I was very offended when they rejected my request for any document that contained certain dates. On top of that, the response I got from the school district was curt and personally offensive. It accused me of being “overly broad.” I don’t see that my waistline has anything to do with this. Sure, I could drop a few pounds, but that’s not the school district’s business. They also said that I was requesting “voluptuous” records. I looked that word up. “Conducive to, or arising from, sensuous or sensual gratification.” What kind of person do they think I am!? I do not seek any records that are in any way “voluptuous.” I am doing a research project and need to see the documents that contain these dates. JUST SEEKING THE TRUTH.
DEAR HELLO! And JUST SEEKING:
First of all, we are pretty sure that the school district meant to say “voluminous” rather than “voluptuous.” And as for the accusation that you are “overly broad,” again, we think this reflects poor editing by the school district. They do not mean to comment on your size. Rather, the concern is that your request is “overly broad.”
Having cleared the brush, let us address the main issue here. This request is ridiculously broad. The PIA allows the school to “discuss with the requestor how the scope of a request might be narrowed.” So it would be permissible for the school to initiate that discussion, so long as they do not “inquire into the purpose for which information will be used.” We are sure that reasonable minds can come together on this.