The News: Following the “Locker Room Incident,” in which an adult biological male showered naked with four freshman girls, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) sought answers and filed a public records request for the school’s locker room policy and other related documents. But now, the district is demanding $11,000 from WILL before it releases any records.
While schools may charge some small fees known as “location costs” (and many schools waive these fees), the district is illegally charging exorbitant fees as a way to hide public records.
The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, stated, “The law demands more, and the district’s embrace of secrecy is an embarrassment. Students, parents, and taxpayers deserve transparency and accountability.”
The Article: Fox News Online covered the latest developments in their story below:
Fox News: Legal group charged $11K for FOIA, investigating trans woman allegedly entering high school girls locker room
By: Joshua Q. Nelson
A Wisconsin school district charged a legal group over $11K to fulfill their open records request regarding an incident that involved a transgender woman allegedly violating the privacy rights of four other female students.
The Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty (WILL) on April 19, 2023, wrote a letter to the Sun Prairie Area School District [SPASD] claiming that they have not “adequately” addressed a violation of students’ privacy rights after a transgender woman walked into a shower with four high school freshmen girls inside of it. Additionally, the letter consisted of an open records request.
According to the letter, titled “Serious Violation of Girls’ Privacy Rights in Sun Prairie East Locker Room,” four Sun Prairie East High School freshmen girls were disturbed when an alleged “undressed” 18-year-old transgender woman came into the locker room and got into the showers with the girls.
A transgender student said, “I want my high school experience to be just like everyone else’s, like getting my license, taking biology class, and figuring my life out, not fighting for it.”
WILL attorneys’ letter claims that on March 3, four freshmen girls at EHS participated in a swim unit as part of their first-hour physical education class.
Fox News Digital obtained an email from the EHS principal that acknowledged an incident occurred and said the situation should have never happened.
A letter sent by a law group claimed that the Wisconsin-based Sun Prairie Area School District has not “adequately” addressed a violation of students’ privacy rights after a transgender woman walked into a shower with four high school freshmen girls inside of it.
SPASD told Fox News Digital that the letter “provides neither an accurate nor complete account of the events that occurred” and that “the incident that is the subject of WILL’s letter is a confidential, pupil matter, and the District is prohibited by law including the Wisconsin pupil records statute, Wis. Stat. 118.125, from disclosing any information about specific pupils in the District.”
The letter urged a response by the SPASD to resolve the issue and claims its actions have “been completely inadequate.” In order to investigate whether SPASD officials had addressed the incident that occurred on March 3, WILL requested a copy of communication exchange materials between officials which include board members, meeting invitations, records pertaining to the school district’s restroom and locker room guidance, and a copy of SPASD’s organizational chart or other documents reflecting the name and title of SPASD’s Title IX coordinator.
In response to WILL’s letter, the SPASD’s general counsel on May 10th told WILL that the records request will be fulfilled at a price that exceeds $11,000.
SPASD is charging WILL over $900 for district officials to start gathering the requested documents. A $934 charge that is the hourly rate of the district officials as well as the estimated amount of time it will take to locate records responsive to their request.
Additionally, SPASD noted that district officials will have to employ IT staff, which would cost well over $5K. It would cost WILL another $5K for EHS staff to search for any “responsive documents.”
“This is an overly broad request, but we are willing to have this search conducted. We estimate, however, that the location costs of performing this search will exceed $5,000.”
SPASD’s general counsel did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
- WILL Letter to SPASD, April 2023
- Press Release: WILL Demands Answers Following Troubling Locker Room Incident, April 2023