Questions remain on use of Cyber Dust at Fresno Unified School District

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Questions remain about Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Michael Hanson about his use of Cyber Dust -- an app that deletes text messages.

Hanson told Action News that he has done nothing illegal and only tried out the app for a few weeks. Still, several people including parents and a former school board member are asking that he be put on administrative leave.

Parent Casey Lamonski of the newly formed Fresnans for Responsibility and Ethics in Education or FREE, says she and other parents and teachers are concerned about the state of Fresno Unified and Superintendent Michael Hanson's ethical decisions.

Casey Lamonski said, "FREE is here today to officially ask the board to put Superintendent Hanson on administrative leave and hire an independent investigator to get to the truth."

Larry Moore, former Fresno Unified School Board member said, "Your responsibility is to get the facts and investigate. You cannot ask the superintendent to investigate himself."

Larry Moore said enough evidence has come out recently to put Hanson on leave. The long-term Superintendent has been under fire lately after reports surfaced that he used an app called Cyber Dust, which allows people to send untraceable messages which then disappear in as little as twenty seconds. Fresno Unified confirmed four high ranking district officials used the app. The allegations have been made public as Hanson and several others at the district are being subpoenaed in a federal investigation into an illegal construction contract that cost several million dollars.

Hanson says he tried the app 18 months ago but only used it for three weeks.

"You know, just a few years ago I was recognized as one of the tech savvy superintendents of America," said Hanson. "For me to not try new things would not be doing my job, in my mind."

Hanson said he ultimately stopped using the app because he found it "cumbersome."

Former Fresno Unified spokesperson Micheline Golden came forward to say she was asked by Hanson to download the app last year but once she saw what it was, she told him she did not feel comfortable using it.

Golden said, "I downloaded it, I didn't know what it was. Once I got it on my phone I realized it was something that made your message disappear. It was used to make text messages disappear and I let him know at that point that I was really uncomfortable with that idea. I didn't think it was ethical."

School board member Chris De La Cerda told Action News that the district's legal counsel will be reviewing the matter and that he's asked that the board review it's technology policies.

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