PJI Sues Florida School District Hiding Potentially Pornographic Material from Parents
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed a public records lawsuit this week against Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) on behalf of a Florida parental rights organization seeking to determine whether BCPS is exposing children to potentially pornographic material.
Florida Citizens Alliance (FLCA), a nonprofit organization championing K-12 education reform, updates parents on how the public education system is failing their students and warns parents of pornographic material used in public schools. FLCA compiles lists of books geared toward K-12 students that FLCA believes are pornographic and attempts to find which public schools use those books. Many of the books on FLCA’s lists contain detailed drawings of people engaged in sexual acts.
In 2019, FLCA confirmed with BCPS that the school district had 82 percent of the listed books available to their students.
This year, FLCA compiled a new list of 42 books and asked PJI to file public records requests to discover if BCPS possesses any of the listed books and where those books are located. But BCPS has subjected FLCA and PJI’s Florida staff attorney, Alexander Bumbu, to two months of multilayer bureaucracy without producing all of the requested records. BCPS has stonewalled FLCA by misconstruing the requests, despite Bumbu correcting them on multiple occasions, and not informing Bumbu about which employee(s) are ultimately responsible for collecting the records requested.
After five weeks of BCPS delaying the records requests, a BCPS administrator admitted that BCPS has a central database of books and estimated that accessing the books through the districtwide database would only take five hours. The administrator said that he and his staff would begin the search immediately; however, despite Bumbu regularly calling and emailing that administrator over the next three weeks, no records were produced.
A few hours after PJI filed the lawsuit, BCPS claimed to have the records ready but still failed to fully comply with the public records requests.
“Under Florida law, BCPS is responsible for monitoring the materials used in its schools, and Floridians have a clear right to see those materials,” Bumbu commented. “FLCA is doing what any parent would do if they were concerned about what their child is being exposed to in school. BCPS is undermining Floridians’ rights to access public records. It’s imperative that a public example be made of BCPS, to show that public school districts can and should be held accountable for disregarding the right to access public records.”
Florida has a very broad public records law which emphasizes a “general state policy on public records” that says, “All state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person.” Government records are open to public inspection unless they qualify for a specific legal exemption. The records requested from BCPS do not fall under an exemption.
“Without question, Broward County Public Schools is breaching parental trust by their continued unwillingness to comply with Florida public records law,” said Brad Dacus, president of PJI. “In a court of law, PJI’s attorney, Alexander Bumbu, will hold them accountable for their actions on behalf of Florida’s parents.”
PJI is one of the largest religious non-profit legal organizations in the country, with offices from coast to coast. PJI has been a beacon for parental rights for over twenty years, protecting parents’ fundamental rights to educate their children and to opt their children out of graphic sex education. Contribute today!