FOI orders board to release Trifone records
DARIEN — The state’s Freedom of Information Commission has ruled for the Board of Education to release additional records in regards to the suspension of Darien High School’s football coach.
The ruling comes as a result of a series of FOIA requests by Jay Hardison, a Darien resident, who was seeking documents in relation to the suspension and investigation of Darien High football coach Rob Trifone.
Hardison said he felt vindicated after the decision was made.
“This is a decision much bigger than just Darien,” he said.
What is contained on the documents is not yet known because the files have not been released.
Hardison alleges the board did not want to release the records in question because they related to the board’s conduct.
This ruling stemmed from the suspension of Trifone after an in-game incident where he slapped a helmeted player in the head in 2016.
Tara Ochman, chairman for the Board of Education, said she has not been able to read the commission’s final decision yet. A decision on whether or not the board will appeal has not been made yet.
“My gut instinct before receiving the written procedure is that we will comply with the FOIA commission,” she said.
Ochman said the issue is complicated. It wasn’t a simple open and shut case or a matter of just releasing the records, she said.
“Certain redactions will still have to be made if we do release them,” she said.
The commission agreed there were still some privacy rights, she said. In the final ruling by the commission, the board was allowed to redact any instances a student is named.
Ochman said the board will always protect student rights first. She also said the board has nothing to hide.
“We’ve always contended that we do best by students,” she said. “We’ll continue to do that.”