Bradford Schools investigates IT Specialist for unauthorized data access


By Carolyn Harmon - charmon@dailyadvocate.com



BRADFORD — An internal inquiry by Bradford Exempted Village Schools District of Information Technology (IT) Specialist Justin Morrell, has ended in his resignation, said school Superintendent Ken Miller.

According to a report from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Mike Whaley responded to Bradford Exempted Village Schools to keep the peace during a civil matter on June 22. According to Lt. Whaley’s narrative, Bradford Schools Superintendent Ken Miller requested a deputy stand by while he placed the school’s Information Technology (IT) Specialist Justin Morrell on administrative suspension, pending an internal inquiry.

Miller advised Morrell is suspected of gaining unauthorized access to login accounts and work documents created by board members and other school employees, the report said. Miller and the school board contracted VARtek Services, Inc., to gain access and conduct the internal investigation to their IT department. Morrell was escorted off of the property by Miller, according to the report.

Morrell said the accusations are groundless.

“My employee reviews for the past two years are consistently good,” he said. “The school board unanimously renewed my employment contract for an additional two years, through July 2019. I brought in $8,500 in grant money for the district. I never accessed files outside the scope of my Information Technology work for the district. I have done everything the district has requested. I enjoyed working with both the teachers and students at Bradford.”

Supt. Miller and the district made no comment referring to Morrell. During a July 5 Bradford Schools Board of Education meeting, a separation agreement was made between the board and Morrell, outlying his terms of resignation. According to Supt. Miller, at the July 19 school board meeting, the board agreed to partner with VARtek Services Inc. to provide the services previously performed by Morrell. VARtek provides technology staffing solutions to schools.

“We had previously outsourced some of our technology work through VARtek,” Miller said. “This upcoming school year we are preparing to roll out Google Chromebooks and were prepared to outsource some of that work by hiring VARtek, who already had a presence in the building. It made sense for us to have them pick up the additional work. Many districts in Ohio don’t employ their own tech directors. VARtek is one of the leading companies that solely have an expertise in supplying tech needs and services for school districts.”

By Carolyn Harmon

charmon@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.