SunSentinel by Rafael Olmeda
September 19, 2018
The parents of two children killed in February’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School say public agencies are subverting democracy by stonewalling them in their search for public records related to the case.
The agencies, including prosecutors, the school district and the Sheriff’s Office, are engaging in “an intentional pattern of noncompliance” with the state’s broad public records law, according to a petition filed in the Broward Circuit Court this week.
The legal action was filed by the parents of students Meadow Pollack and Carmen Schentrup, who died in the shooting spree.
The school board, Sheriff’s Office, State Attorney’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol have consistently and repeatedly blocked their efforts to obtain information, ignoring the public’s right to know that has been a part of state law since 1892, according to the victims’ families.
“The demand for access to public records is an American principle dating back to the Colonial Era and was specifically enumerated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence,” their lawyers wrote.
The school district replied to one public records request for e-mail correspondence with a cost estimate of at least $4,300.
Another request, for meeting records and training exercise information, was rebuffed because the school district said it would expose security plans.