Nov 022011
 November 2, 2011  Posted by  Court, Youth & Schools

Aisling Swift reports:

A two-year battle for Collier County school records detailing a “Kick a Jew Day” incident at North Naples Middle School in 2009 came to an end this week, after a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

On Tuesday, Collier Circuit Judge Hugh Hayes dismissed a lawsuit filed in April by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which sought all records detailing the “offensive conduct” by the 10 students and the district’s investigation.

The judge dismissed it “with prejudice,” meaning the ACLU cannot refile it, but can head to the Second District Court of Appeal.

Hayes told the ACLU’s attorney, Douglas L. Wilson, and James Fox of Roetzel & Andress, who represented the board, he was restricted by prior courts’ decisions, but suggested they use specific language in the order they submit for him to sign so the appeals court will consider it.

Read more on Marco Eagle. This case has some really important questions embedded such as whether something is even an “education record” under FERPA protection if the student’s identity has been deleted.  The courts in Florida have seemingly held that they are protected under state law and FERPA, but the ACLU has challenged that.  If an incident involves 10 students and their identifies are deleted or redacted, then it is possible to calculate the number of possibilities to correctly link the 10 records to the 10 students.  But what if an incident only involves one student? Then even deleting the student’s name still leaves any record clearly linkable back to the student and I think we would need to consider it an education record. In other words, I see a legitimate and important question here that needs to go up to the appeals court.

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