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November 4, 2005

The shocking truth

From Jason Shepard's column Talking Out of School in Isthmus, Madison's only media outlet to give the public in-depth coverage of the MMSD:

A series of institutional failures -- by court employees, police officers, and school officials -- led to a Madison student being shot with a Taser stun gun in a school parking lot early this year, according to an independent investigator whose report the school district has tried to keep secret. . . .

[The report] is a remarkable indictment of the ways in which police and school officials handled the Taser incident. But perhaps the case's most distrubing aspect concerns what appear to be ongoing efforts to cover up what transpired.

Superintendent Art Rainwater initally offered his assurances that all district policies were followed. "In my review with the principal, it would appear that the process was followed," the Wisconsin State Journal quoted him as saying.

File that quote under Take Nothing from the MMSD at Face Value.

But Rainwater, to his credit, ordered an independent investigation saying in the same article: "Given the high profile that this case has assumed, it would be better accepted by the public if someone outside the administration conducted the investigation and reached findings."

[The report] was submitted to the district on Oct. 18. District spokesman Key Syke this week denied a request by Isthmus to see the report, citing "pending litigation. . . ." (Of course, any party suing the district would easily be able to obtain [the report] through discovery.)

Isthmus was able to obtain the report through other means. It will be posted on the paper's Web site,, next Monday, November 7, under Document Feed.

Posted by Ed Blume at November 4, 2005 6:56 AM
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