On the front page of today’s edition of Park Cities People, there is a story headlined “HPISD May Owe Attorneys’ Fees.” That story incorrectly said that the Highland Park school district has paid $8,688.68 to its own attorneys regarding a dispute with a family over special-education testing. That amount is actually what the district still owes its attorneys for work on this case; it has paid them far more than that. How much more? We can’t say yet. When we submitted a public information request, we made the mistake of asking how much the district owed its attorneys, not how much the district has paid them. We’ll submit a new public information request on Monday, because HPISD administrators have Fridays off in the summer.
Also in that story, we edited a statement from the district, just as all newspapers edit statements from sources in practically all of their stories. (To be clear, we directly quoted only the third sentence of a five-sentence statement.) Here is the statement in its entirety:
We cannot comment on any case involving confidential student information. There are strict laws protecting student privacy, beginning at the federal level with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and reinforced by Texas law (Public Information Act) and HPISD policy. We believe these laws are in place for a reason – to protect children from a public discussion regarding their confidential records.
While a parent may choose to share information about his or her child, we cannot. We remain committed to respecting the ethical and legal guidelines and laws that protect our students’ right to privacy.