The St. Louis Park High School newspaper, The Echo, is suing the school district and superintendent to obtain security footage of a November incident where a senior student allegedly pulled a hijab off another student’s head.
The suit filed against St. Louis Park Public Schools and Superintendent Rob Metz states that both parties are violating the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act by not providing the video of the incident. It argues that the footage is needed for news coverage.
On Nov. 14, a female student reported to school officials that her hijab had been pulled. School officials then held a mediation session between the female student and the football player who allegedly pulled her hijab. During the mediation, the senior football player allegedly stated that he did not pull the student’s hijab. The coach of the football team was present in the meeting while the female student did not have any representation, according the suit.
Christopher Seidl is one of the lawyers representing the student-run online and print publication. Seidl has worked on first amendment issues in the past.
“They are simply seeking the truth about what happened in the hallway on Nov. 14,” he said.
The school district released a statement claiming that the information is private data.
“St. Louis Park Public Schools has a responsibility to comply with the laws relating to student information and to protect personally identifiable information related to our students,” the statement reads. “We take that responsibility seriously. The school district clearly informed The Echo of our responsibility under the applicable law and fulfilled our responsibility when we advised The Echo that the information they requested was not accessible to them.”
School officials have been unwilling to meet with the newspaper staff on the issue, according to the suit. The Echo staff had requested documents related to the incident in November and December but the documents were heavily redacted.
Schools and colleges reported several incidents of harassment following the election of President Donald Trump in November.