D-86 board spars over website
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:12PM
HINSDALE — The Hinsdale High School District 86 Board appears ready to try and stop a website from using a name that viewers might confuse with the district’s official website.
The School Board is expected to vote whether to issue a cease and desist notification to the operators of hinsdalehighschools.com, though they are anonymous, at the board’s Sept. 24 meeting.
“I believe we have a right to our name, and the copyright and trademark of our name,” board President Dennis Brennan said. “It was the same website that was using our logos. It’s still the same issue . . . it’s misleading people.”
The website criticizes the district for a lack of accountability and transparency.
Last year, the board discussed whether the website was violating the school district’s policy about other organizations using its name.
“It was discussed in open session,” Brennan said. “That’s where it died.”
But Brennan, who was School Board president at the time, also said he did not know if a cease and desist order “was ever sent out.”
He is prepared to send out such notification now because the website has an email address to which messages may be sent.
Richard Skoda was the only School Board member who opposed trying to stop the website name.
“Words like Hinsdale and high school seem to me to be generic,” Skoda said.
“But when you put them together, it confuses people,” said board member Kay Gallo. “The litmus test is, is it confusing.”
Fellow board member Jennifer Planson said people have asked her if there’s a connection between the website and District 86.
In addition, Planson believes the website name violates the school district policy against the unauthorized use of its name.
When Skoda questioned whether the public would want the district to spend its time and money on the issue, Brennan, an attorney, said he would personally take the case for free.
Brennan asked Skoda pointedly what his interest is in the website. Skoda replied he had no financial or personal interest in the website.
“Do I write on it? No,” Skoda said.
But Brennan said he thinks the people running the website are Skoda, Bruce Davidson and Claudia Manley, because they used it as part of their campaign for election last year.
“The real issue here” has nothing to do with copyright infringement, Skoda said. “It’s basically an effort to stifle political discourse.”~.