A Minnesota public school district reportedly sent completely redacted documents to parents requesting pertinent documents containing Critical Race Theory keywords, Alpha News reported.
Parents from the group United Patriots for Accountability (UPA) filed a public records request with Owatonna Public Schools (OPS) asking the district for documents that mentioned particular words associated with Critical Race Theory (CRT), Alpha News reported.
CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.
UPA received two sets of documents that were “heavily redacted” and only applied to seven of the 19 keywords the group had requested, James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center, who is representing UPA against OPS, told Alpha News. Some photos obtained by Alpha News appear to show pages completely redacted.
Parents at a Minnesota school district made a data request (state level FOIA) to see if certain CRT-related terms are in school documents
Here’s part of what they got back, fully redacted pages: pic.twitter.com/EzRP7UItU5
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) December 8, 2021
The school district “only [has] one person reviewing the documents related to our requests,” which causes delays, but its slow turnaround time and extensive redactions could cause legal issues, Dickey told Alpha News. OPS has not explained its redactions and has reportedly given the redacted information to other members of the public in the past.
“I think that it’s likely a misunderstanding of how the Data Practices Act works,” Dickey told Alpha News. “I always want to give the benefit of the doubt — but I think there’s no question that they’re not complying with the Data Practices Act as it should be complied with.”
The Upper Midwest Law Center wrote a letter to the district that explained its redactions likely didn’t align with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
“It is also apparent, upon reviewing some examples of redaction, that the District is redacting data that could not possibly be protected from access as public data under the MGDPA,” the letter said.
UPA filed another data request regarding the district’s curriculum, but the district is reportedly working to keep the curriculum secret, Alpha News reported. Parents were allowed to go to a school building to look at curriculum materials, but were prohibited from taking photographs or making copies to protect the authors’ copyright, according to the district.
The school does not enforce copyright and it is not illegal for an advocacy group to take pictures of copyrighted material, Dickey told Alpha News. UPA members went to the school district facility on Tuesday and were once again told they could not take pictures.
“You can’t prevent our clients from taking pictures of copyrighted material just because you suspect there’s a possibility they might violate it,” Dickey said. “If the District does not correct its errors, we will have to file a lawsuit seeking its compliance.”
OPS did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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