Pine Bluff schools respond to FOI request

The Pine Bluff School District released the personnel file on Thursday of a terminated employee in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Karla McDonald, 30, worked as a custodian for the Pine Bluff School District. She was suspended on Jan. 15, 2014, after being arrested, said Kenetta Ridgell, Pine Bluff schools spokeswoman. McDonald was later fired by the school board on June 17, 2014.

The passage of five months between McDonald’s suspension and termination occurred because of the employee’s right to due process, Ridgell said. Since McDonald is now fired, she cannot appeal, Ridgell said.

“There is no other recourse available through the district,” Ridgell said.

The Commercial submitted a Freedom of Information request on Wednesday, June 18, to the Pine Bluff School District seeking access to McDonald’s personnel file. In general, the state’s FOI law allows three business days for entities to respond to such requests.

Multiple efforts to speak with McDonald were not successful.

Pine Bluff Police Department records show that McDonald was arrested on Jan. 14, 2014, on allegations of aggravated assault. Officer Donald L. Griffin wrote an incident report that McDonald allegedly drove her car into a man in the parking lot of Broadmoor Elementary School. Griffin interviewed the alleged victim, who said he was arguing with McDonald, attempted to open her door but could not and was knocked to the pavement.

Formal charges of aggravated assault and second-degree battery were filed in February against McDonald, according to records from the prosecutor’s office.