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Missouri attorney general sues Moberly schools alleging Sunshine Law violation

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued Moberly Public Schools on Tuesday, alleging the district overcharged for a public records request related to school policy about recording certain meetings.

Schmitt said in an interview with ABC 17 News that the district asked for a $3,000 fee for records relating to parents recording meetings with teachers regarding their children's individualized education plan. The plans are for students who need special learning accommodations.

Schmitt has taken issue with the district's policies related to recording the meetings. State law allows parents to record those meetings, but Schmitt said in a news release that the district has “ten draconian recording ‘rules’ as a precondition of recording their child’s IEP meeting.”

"They put a set of 10 preconditions for a parent to be able to record, for example, the IEP meeting. They can’t do that, and so we want to know more," Schmitt said of the document request and subsequent lawsuit.

The attorney general sent the district a letter about the district's policies. The district responded that it requires parents to fill out a form to provide notice and that the policy conforms with state law.

The district said at that time that it was working to balance state and federal prohibitions on recording in schools with the new state law allowing recording during the education plan meetings.

No one was available at Moberly Public Schools to respond Tuesday.

The judge in the case has sought a recusal, leaving the naming of a new judge up to the Missouri Supreme Court, according to online court records. No hearings have been set.

The law allowing recordings took effect in August. The law's passage came after a long battle between some Columbia Public Schools' parents and the district over the right to record the meetings.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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