From lunchrooms to lawyers

Board of Education meeting on February 13, 2012. / Sarah Bleau

The Dougherty County School Board heard from an independent attorney they hired to look into legal action they can take with two cases of fraudulent free school lunch application.

The attorney recommends that the school board create an organized system when it comes to "verification of cause." Verification of cause occurs when a whistleblower tells a school official that an application will be questionable.

"Make sure that there's a point of contact and they have people appropriated to the task such as perhaps school system police, an attorney for the school board to work with the folks in child nutrition section to deal with those cases and make sure they're dealt with in a consistent way and a careful way," says Attorney Jim Fleissner.

Fleissner says he consulted the U.S. Department of Agriculture about some issues including prosecution. He says prosecuting people is not a USDA but rather a local issue.

"Whether the school board and superintendent would refer a case of fraud they would find to the local district attorney is for them to decide. The Department of Agriculture is not encouraging or discouraging prosecution in cases that are serious and there have been a couple that were referred by the school board recently," says Fleissner.

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