A Wisconsin school district is charging a state-based law firm over $11,000 for records related to a recent incident at a local high school, where a trans-identifying male showered naked in front of four female students.
In an April 19 letter sent to the Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD), the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed an open records request for any and all communications related to a March incident at Sun Prairie East High School (EHS), in which an 18-year-old male student, who claims to be a woman, purportedly showered unclothed in the girl’s school locker room in the presence of four female, freshmen students. In its letter, WILL called on the district “to address [the incident] immediately and put policies in place that will protect the safety and privacy of all students (and provide public notice of what those policies are).”
Sun Prairie, a Madison suburb, is located in the deep-blue enclave of Dane County.
In its May 10 response to WILL, Lori Lubinsky, who serves as SPASD’s general counsel, claimed it would cost over $11,000 to fulfill the law firm’s request for records surrounding the EHS showering incident. Obtained by The Federalist, Lubinsky’s letter notes the cost for SPASD “to search the individual email accounts of all certified staff at EHS” for relevant documents is nearly $5,000. The district further claims it would cost over $5,000 for EHS staff to search for all “texts, messages, voicemails and other communications” related to the March incident.
“Until this estimate is paid, the District will not proceed to locate any responsive records to this request,” the letter reads.
While speaking with The Federalist last month, Libby Sobic, WILL’s director of education policy, said the legal group has “questions” and “concerns” about SPASD meeting its Title IX “obligations under the existing federal law.”
Title IX requires school districts “to have clear policies on what is appropriate and what’s not, and it requires them to have a Title IX coordinator who’s supposed to make sure that these things are implemented,” Sobic said. “But when this incident was brought to the attention of the school administrators, they failed to do any of those steps.”
As The Federalist previously reported, WILL’s April 19 letter raised concerns that SPASD and EHS officials failed to properly respond to the March 3 incident and uphold their Title IX obligations.
In one case, WILL’s letter details communications “between the mother of one of the female victims and EHS Principal Renee Coleman, who called to apologize but also claimed that SPASD policies ‘address this situation and that she would have to speak with District staff who knew the details,’” The Federalist report reads. “According to WILL, however, no official district’ policy’ was identified, and ‘no Title IX rights were mentioned.’”
Last month, the Biden administration proposed new Title IX rules that seek to prohibit schools receiving federal funds from enforcing policies preventing men from competing in women’s sports. As The Federalist’s Jordan Boyd reported, the proposal is designed to kneecap legislation passed by more than 20 states that protects female spaces “on and off the field,” meaning women’s sports and locker rooms would be available to female-identifying men.
SPASD has since publicly disputed WILL’s characterization of the March 3 incident.
Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood
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