Exorbitant FOIA Fees Latest Weapon Deployed By Schools Against Concerned Parents

high foia fees schools
Randen Pederson from Superior, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Summer is here, and while school is out, the drama surrounding the American education system is very much still in session. The latest to draw some mainstream media attention encompasses the astronomical Freedom of Information Act request fees being levied on everyday parents.

The COVID-19 lockdown hysteria shone a blinding light on what American children were being taught and not taught, thanks to the advent of virtual learning.

While I would argue the education system has been broken for decades, the surge in lessons that veered from the usually accepted studies has caused a flood of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from concerned parents.

However, it’s not as easy as filing the request and waiting patiently for the information to be delivered. Like everything in this world, information isn’t free.

RELATED: NYT, School Counselors Admit Pandemic Lockdowns A Total Disaster For Children

Dedicated To Transparency, For The Right Price

A recent Fox News report highlighted some of the price tags associated with various FOIA requests made by parents. For example, a parent in Maryland was invoiced $5,000 for a request they made for one month’s worth of emails. 

The parent told Fox News:

“I never got the [records] because that’s well beyond what I’m willing to pay for information my tax dollars already paid for.”

A parent of children who attend Virginia’s Alexandria High School was invoiced $84,300 for a request regarding Title IX complaints over two years. The FOIA request was made after the concerned parent, Devon Wells, read a National Review article regarding a 14-year-old who had been arrested for “aggravated sexual battery, rape, and forcible sodomy” at the school.

Wells initially reached out to the principal for information on how the school is ensuring better safety measures. Upon getting no response, Wells reached out to the Superintendent just to receive silence again. 

A parent in Rochester, Michigan, was invoiced as high as $18 million. The Oregon Department of Education invoiced a parent $9,630 for 963 emails. That’s $10 per email, in case you haven’t done the math yet.

This isn’t new, however. In January, Forest Hills Public School in Michigan invoiced $409,899.10 in response to a FOIA request on documents containing critical race theory-related correspondence. 

The school district said it encompassed 440,333 documents. That’s a lot of records for what the liberal media have told parents is something that isn’t being taught in public school.

RELATED: D.C. School Had Kindergartners Participate In ‘Anti-Racism Fight Club’

FOIA Fees Aren’t The Only Weapon In The Arsenal

These sky-high fees aren’t the only way school districts are finding ways to shut parents out. There have been increasing moves across the country to find ways to hide information from parents specifically related to their children.

In Missouri, 68 school districts have a policy that meetings and discussions with students do not need to be divulged to the parents. The policy states, “school counselors meet with students to discuss academics and personal issues; teachers often discuss academic performance with students…”

But here is the kicker:

“The district will not honor requests by parents/guardians to be informed prior to these discussions, be present during these discussions, or prohibit conversations between a student and staff members.”

So why all the secrecy? It could very well be related to the idea of transgender youth affirmation. For example, in Ohio, Olentangy School District has the following policy:

“School staff must not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents and other staff unless legally required to do so.”

It is a wonder why so many parents seem to be eyeing other options such as home school. My kids don’t even think about farting without me knowing about it, as it should be.

It’s Not Just Parents Struggling With FOIA Requests

There are 14 state Attorney Generals currently fighting to get information from the Biden administration regarding communication between the White House, the Department of Justice, and the National School Boards Association (NSBA). So how are these AGs trying to get the information they need? Why through FOIAs, of course.

The background behind this effort surrounds the famous NSBA letter that likened parents protesting at school board meetings to domestic terrorists. After the letter was received, Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memo to the FBI directing them to work with state and local leaders to:

“address threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

The FOIA request was sent after AG Garland testified to Congress that before he sent the memo, there were conversations with the DOJ, White House, and NSBA about the letter. The FOIA request is looking for:

“public records relating to the communications and White House meetings outlined by Attorney General Garland in his congressional testimony.”

The Biden administration has moved to dismiss the FOIA lawsuit, and so far, nothing has been released regarding the request.

RELATED: Democrats Support School Choice, But Only For Themselves, Not For You

Democrats Shouldn’t Underestimate The Power Of The Parent

While most suburban parents can’t afford to cut thousand-dollar checks, especially in this economy, it is doubtful this new tactic will discourage the parent movement. The Associated Press recently reported that over one million voters switched from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party.

Most of those voters seem to come from suburban areas throughout the country. The Political Insider’s Becky Noble writes, “There have been warning signs for the Democrats for quite a while.”

One can merely recall the shocking wins in Virginia last year of Governor Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Governor Winsome Sears, and Attorney General Jason Miyares. While education is not the only thing probably pushing some former Democrats to change parties, it will undoubtedly continue to be a thorn in the Democrat’s side.

Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas told Fox News:

“If public information is priced outside of affordability, it’s not really public information, it’s a government secret.”

The truth is out there, and I believe parents aren’t likely to give up.

Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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