The family of a high school senior found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat last January has asked to see video surveillance footage from the school gym where his body was found.
Kendrick Johnson’s family believes the video may show evidence that his death was not an accident, as the Lowndes County Sherrif’s Office has determined. So far, the school system has released only a few still images from the cameras. The Lowndes County School system attorney, Warren Turner, said the district cannot release the recordings because they are education records protected under FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
So in short, the school district is violating the FERPA rights of Johnson’s parents by refusing to hand over the video and citing FERPA as a basis for why it’s violating FERPA.
And all of that said, none of it is really the point.
Put aside that the law says the exact opposite of what the school says it does. When grieving parents asked to see details of their son’s death, the school sat down and said, “Let’s look for a reason not to cooperate."
I wish I had words to invoke in this district’s administrators the sense of shame to which they are apparently immune, but only the Almighty can give someone a soul.