As part of our school-to-prison pipeline work, the ACLU of Michigan filed a public records request with the Detroit Public Schools seeking, among other things, data about student suspensions and expulsions, referrals of students to law enforcement, and policies and procedures for disciplinary hearings.
After the school district refused to provide numerous documents and demanded excessive fees for the documents it did agree to provide, we filed suit based on these violations of the Freedom of Information Act. The lawsuit prompted the district to hand over the documents that it was required under law to provide in the first place.
Although the trial court then dismissed the lawsuit based on the school district’s representation that it did not understand our original records request, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed and ruled that the district had violated the Freedom of Information Act. The case was resolved in May 2016 when the school district agreed to pay our attorneys’ fees.
(Monts v. Detroit Public Schools; Cooperating Attorney Ralph Simpson.)