School Board Seeks to Prevent Web Posting of Materials It Released to Fulfill FOI Request
The Goldwater Institute’s Tim Sandefur reports on one of his organization’s new cases:
When Debra Tisler and Callie Oettinger of Fairfax County, Virginia, suspected their local school district was wasting taxpayer money on excessive legal fees, they did what responsible and engaged citizens do in a democracy: They asked to see the receipts. They have that legal right under the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)—and the school board turned over 1,000 pages worth of information. Then it realized that something in there was embarrassing—and that’s when things got ugly.
The school board demanded that Callie remove the documents from the website where she’d published some of them—after having redacted any confidential information. That’s right: Callie blacked out any personal info before posting the documents, because the school board failed to do so. She had no legal obligation to do that—the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that you have a constitutional right to publish lawfully obtained information about the government—but she still chose to take that precaution.
But that wasn’t enough for school bureaucrats. They filed a lawsuit against Callie and Debr
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