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FIRST ON FOX – An Arizona district decision to publicly release the names of parents requesting records, including the nature of the request, on its official website, led to accusations the district was trying to humiliate them. Parents have since experienced online harassment following the disclosures.
The Scottsdale Unified School District claimed the move was for the sake of transparency – but it did not intend to publish the actual documents requested when they are fulfilled – only “the name of the requesting party, the request made and the status.”
The district also said the policy would be effective July 1, but up to 10 months of parents’ names were originally released in the rollout.
“Our intent is never to embarrass any requestor rather this is about the district being accountable and transparent,” the district told Fox News Digital. “Unfortunately, some previous records requests were also posted. That error was corrected as soon as it was brought to our attention.”
Scottsdale Unified School District in Arizona plans to release the names of parents who request public records. (Fox News Digital )
On the contrary, parents who spoke with Fox News Digital said they believed the district was trying to humiliate and intimidate them to prevent them from seeking records.
“The district appears desperate to hide information from parents. For me, this… intimidation has only provided more motivation to keep asking questions,” parent Jill Dunican told Fox News Digital.
A complaint was filed with the Arizona Ombudsman – Citizen’s Aide office last Tuesday by parent and attorney Chris Evans requesting an investigation into the district.
“I’m alleging the district has made a decision to publish requesters names and requests in an effort to deter parents from making records requests,” Evans said. “Every potential requester now must accept the possibility of being doxxed and ridiculed by the other political side for merely exercising their right to public records.”
“There have already been calls for parent harassment from fringe, district aligned, leftist parent groups,” Dunican said.
Scottsdale Unified School District parent, Jill Dunican, requested public records from the Arizona district in June. (Fox News Digital )
A Facebook page called “Respect Our Scottsdale Students” attacked and shared the names of the parents requesting public records.
“[Name redacted] – a truly busy and apparently truly troubled soul: She wants to see everything written… that include the keywords… sexuality, sexual… Think this over: [name redacted] wants to know anything anyone said about pretty much anything that has anything at all to do with sex.”
“[Name Redacted] – she wants every email about anyone that uses the word ‘gender.’ Really, [name redacted]? How messed up are you? 22,000 kids and about 2,500 teachers and staff and you want to read all of the stuff about all of them that you find pervy? Find a new hobby,” the post continued.
“[Name redacted]: Asked for every answer to the SUSD Student and Community Climate Survey… [name redacted] is a seriously demented human being, by the way.”
“I think this was a foreseeable result of the policy change,” Evans said about the harassment parents received.
Amy Carney, a parent who is also running for a school board position, said that what the district was doing was “not illegal” but it was also “wrong” and “against parents.”
Amy Carney, who is running for a school board position in Scottsdale, Arizona, speaks with Fox News Digital. (Fox News Digital)
Carney added that she is aware of a handful of moms who are distressed about their names being disclosed. “I’ve heard from… a mom… [who] is mortified. She’s embarrassed. And that’s exactly what they wanted… This is wrong to be doing to parents in your community just because you don’t want the truth out there. Is this legal? Probably. But it’s immoral. It’s wrong.”
“It seems that publishing the names of parents, in this case, is not being done in a good faith interest for transparency, but rather to embarrass the parents,” said Goldwater Institute’s director of litigation, Jon Riches, to Fox News Digital.
“The combination of the district redacting staffs’ names and outing parents who file records requests has made me realize how determined Superintendent Scott Menzel is to push his agenda on our children,” Dunican said.
Dunican’s reference was from a public records request from June that was returned with faculty names redacted in documents. The district’s counsel explained at the time that the redaction was done to protect employees from false “accusations of…. ‘grooming,'” according to emails reviewed by Fox News Digital.
Scottsdale Unified School District parents said the disclosures of parents’ names on public records requests opened them up to harassment. (iStock)
“Parents have a strong interest in maintaining a safe and secure environment for our children including, to the extent possible, not creating situations where minors are recruited by adults and manipulated into engaging in sexualized conversations about scientifically false gender scenarios,” Dunican responded to the district via email.
“Your dislike of media coverage does not absolve you from your legal duty to fulfill parents’ public records requests,” Dunican added.
“[T]he redaction of any employee names and/or emails is not part of our regular process,” the district explained to Fox News. “The District did redact the names of select employees who were being threatened or defamed on district communications and social media related to one specific issue earlier this summer.”
“The redaction was done, in that limited instance, to address safety and security concerns,” the district added.
“Concerned parents are unwilling to be intimidated. We will use our legal rights to public documents to keep district employees accountable and expose adults who promote gender confusion and inappropriate sexual content to children without parental consent,” Dunican said.
Hannah Grossman is an associate editor at Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent on Twitter: @GrossmanHannah.