News

Connecticut schools can’t claim employee misconduct records are FERPA protected, FOI commission rules

The Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, an administrative agency that enforces open record laws, unanimously decided on Feb. 13 that schools cannot withhold educator misconduct records on the grounds of protecting student privacy. The ruling clarifies that public schools can’t withhold an entire employee misconduct document because it contains identifying information about a student —… Continue reading Connecticut schools can’t claim employee misconduct records are FERPA protected, FOI commission rules

Legal

Do I need to be a citizen of a state to request records there?

Q: I am hearing rumors that a recently hired school official was fired from his job at a public college in another state and would like to find out more. Do I need to be a citizen of that state to request records? A: In most cases no. The vast majority of states do not require… Continue reading Do I need to be a citizen of a state to request records there?

Legal

Can my school deny a public records request because of COVID-19?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: I recently submitted an open records law request to my public school for budgetary information related to a time-sensitive story I’m working on. No one is disputing that the records are “public records” that must be… Continue reading Can my school deny a public records request because of COVID-19?

Legal

Is there an age limit for requesting public records?

Q: Is there an age limit for requesting public records under an open records law? A: Currently, Louisiana is the only state that requires a requester be the “age of majority,” which in Louisiana is currently 18. Likewise, there is no age requirement to request federal records under the federal Freedom of Information Act. Every… Continue reading Is there an age limit for requesting public records?

Legal

When I request records, do I have to explain why I want them?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Am I required to explain why I want a particular record when submitting an open records request? A: Almost always, states and the federal government FOI laws make clear that the motivation behind an open records request is irrelevant.… Continue reading When I request records, do I have to explain why I want them?

FOI Lawsuit Template

If a government agency denies your request for records, use our templates to file a complaint in court and learn about legal options in your state.

News

A high school newspaper was cut during the pandemic. Is it a sign of things to come?

CALIFORNIA — Cassandra Garcia, a rising senior at Rialto High School in Southern California is fighting to bring back a journalism course at her high school after her principal removed the class from the fall schedule without informing students or the adviser.  Garcia is a reporter for the Medieval Times, Rialto’s student newspaper. The school’s… Continue reading A high school newspaper was cut during the pandemic. Is it a sign of things to come?

News

Access to public information restricted as schools move online

Many schools across the country are failing to comply with Sunshine Laws during the coronavirus pandemic, which is making it even more difficult for student journalists to cover the news. Daniel Bevarly, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, said the coronavirus isn’t a legally acceptable reason for universities to withhold public information… Continue reading Access to public information restricted as schools move online