Our readers may remember our friends at Linn-Mar High School. The school hosted a “Trans Week” and things got out of hand.
Considering just how ridiculous things got and the reaction from concerned parents, The Iowa Standard submitted an open records request.
Our initial request asked for copies of public records involving “trans week” communications from the district. The request included any and all communications from administration and staff involving “trans week.”
The district provided an estimate of $504 in order to obtain these records. We agreed to pay it.
Then the district said it made a mistake. The $504 total was per employee and, since the district employs more than 1,200 people, the estimate jumped to $604,000.
Yeah. That seriously happened.
We explained to the district we were looking for just communications involving trans week – not every communication sent or received by every staff member during trans week.
After discussing, The Iowa Standard made clear it wanted messages dealing with “trans week” from or to the superintendent, the principal, Kat Power and all Linn-Mar School Board members. The time frame was to cover one month BEFORE trans week through Dec. 14.
On Jan. 12, 2022, we received the records — all 57 pages of them. That was 57 pages for $637. That’s obviously over $10 per page. And, keep in mind that one-fifth of these records were a certain email chain that contained the same emails multiple times.
But that’s just part of the issue. Here is the other — the district clearly did not provide all the records.
How do I know that? Because I have records that were sent by parents.
Trans Week ran from Nov. 13-17. That means our records request covered Oct. 13-Dec. 14 and was supposed to contain any and all communications involving “trans week.”
We told Linn-Mar that we were missing records. They assured us we were not.
But guess what — this message from Nov. 19, 2021 wasn’t included. It was sent to the principal. And, guess what — transgender week was literally named in the email.
Obviously that is a record that should have been in my request.
Maybe it was an honest oversight. But, then what would this be?
OK. Maybe it was two accidents. But, this too?
And there’s more. But I think the picture has been painted in a pretty clear and convincing way.
I am not sure what the punishment is for not providing all records pertaining to an open records request, but I think I’ll find out by the end of this.
Later today we will be filing a complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board. We will let you know where it goes from there.
It is sad and disturbing this week even took place in an Iowa school. It’s even worse that the district is hiding documentation about it.
For the record, we gave the district a chance to get it right. We told them we’re pretty sure records are missing. They took more time to explore.
Finally, on March 10, the district told us there are no additional materials.