The 2020 Foilies Awards: Recognizing the year’s worst in government transparency 

Page 5 of 19

click to enlarge CAITLYN CRITES
  • Caitlyn Crites

The Smokescreen Award

Texas Elementary Schools

Across the country, parents, educators, and lawmakers are fuming about nicotine "vaping" among underage students. Considering that this is branded as a public health crisis, one would assume schools would be forthcoming with data about vaping incidents on campuses to help inform policymakers.

That's not what Sarah Rafique, a reporter with ABC 13 Investigates in Houston, found when she filed records requests with more than 1,000 schools across Texas. About 10% of agencies missed the 10-day deadline to respond. One school demanded an (illegal) flat fee of $150 for all requests, while another agency demanded to know the reason for the request before they'd hand over the documents. "It was weird, too, that some districts said they didn't have any data/information but when I explained I was reaching out to 1,000 districts (and they wouldn't be singled out, per se) all of a sudden they had numbers to share," Rafique said in a Twitter thread outlining the most troubling responses to her requests.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation