Michigan Mom Sues School District For Allegedly Refusing To Disclose Full Curriculum Documents

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A Michigan mother is suing her public school district for allegedly refusing to fully disclose the school’s curriculum documents and diversity, equity and inclusion training documents, according to a lawsuit filed by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation.

Mother Carol Beth Litkouhi submitted two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Rochester Community School District regarding information on the district’s new “History of Ethnic and Gender Studies” course and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” training documents. According to a press release from the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, Litkouhi submitted the first FOIA on Dec. 14 and the second on Dec. 27.

Rochester Community Schools provided a unit plan for the ethnic and gender studies course but denied the rest of Litkouhi’s request, according to the mother’s complaint. She submitted an appeal on Jan. 19 and was denied the appeal Feb. 8.

According to email correspondence submitted in the lawsuit, the district maintains that there are no teacher lesson plans, student readings or assignments that the district has access to.

“Your request is denied in part as the District is not knowingly in possession of any records responsive to your request for ‘teacher lesson plans,’ ‘readings given to students,’ ‘viewing,’ and ‘assignments used to evaluate students,’ or teacher prompts made on Flipgrid and Google classroom during the time period from August 30, 2021, through present. This letter serves as the District’s certification that no responsive records are known to exist,” the district told Litkouhi.

On Jan. 21, the district responded to Litkouhi’s FOIA regarding diversity, equity and inclusion training. The district asked for a deposit of $418.45, which the mother paid Jan. 24.

The complaint alleges that “the district’s response was styled as a full grant” of records, though on Feb. 11, the district notified the mother that they would be withholding some documents. The district alleged that some of the relevant materials were protected by copyright.

“Rochester Community School District has an obligation under Michigan law to provide these documents to her. Its refusal to do this significantly hinders the goal of FOIA, which is to provide all people with ‘full and complete information regarding the affairs of government,’” the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation said.

Rochester Community School District drew ire in recent weeks after the district’s superintendent admitted that he monitored parents’ social media accounts. (RELATED: Michigan Superintendent Raked In Nearly $700,000 In Salary, Benefits As He Monitored Parents’ Social Media)

A district spokeswoman told the Daily Caller that the school’s curriculum is available for parents on the district’s website. She stated that the district is “restrained” from discussing pending litigation, but offered a statement promoting the district’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as well as “social-emotional learning.”

“Rochester Community Schools is committed to cultural proficiency, diversity, equity, inclusion, and social-emotional learning for all,” the statement read in part.