Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jefferson County schools properly withhold school bus video

Jefferson County Public Schools properly withheld school bus video from a requesting party.

On Oct. 18, 2016, Attorney General Andy Beshear issued an opinion in the matter of In re: Todd Greenwell/Jefferson County Public Schools, 16-ORD-226.

Greenwell requested a copy of any school bus video for a crash that occurred on Nov. 5, 2015, on both April 22 and April 29, 2016.

The initial request denied on April 28 as an educational record protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Kentucky’s equivalent, Kentucky Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act .

In the April 29 request, Greenwell provided an authorization signed by guardian of a student on the bus, that he represents. On May 4, the school system responded that 33 students were on the bus at the time and they do not have consent from all parents, nor was it possible to blur the faces of everyone but Greenwell’s client.

The appeal was initiated Aug. 8.

The response from the school system cited KRS 61.878(1)(k) and (l), which incorporate FERPA into the Open Records Act exemptions.

Citing 99-ORD-217, Beshear noted that school bus footage is an education record containing FERPA and KFERPA exempt information and that redaction would be almost impossible, and some student could still be identified in various ways, per 07-ORD-005.

Beshear concluded by staying nothing in the appeal illustrated a reason to move from prior decisions, so he found no Open Records Act violations.

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