State Attorney General Eric Schmitt is suing the Missouri School Boards’ Association for records he is seeking.
In a news release today, Schmitt, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, calls MSBA a quasi-public governmental body and is subject to open records laws.
“Today, I filed a lawsuit against the Missouri School Boards Association for hiding public records – records that the public and particularly parents of children in Missouri’s schools have a right to see,” said Schmitt.
MSBA is a nonprofit organization representing the largest body of elected members in the state.
Schmitt says he wants records about MSBA’s “role” in the National School Boards Association comparing of rowdy parents at school board meetings to “domestic terrorists”. The statewide school board group pulled its membership from the national group that made the comparison.
Schmitt also wants records about MSBA’s guidance on race-based history, mask mandates and meeting policies for students with disabilities.
“MSBA was disappointed to learn by social media that another frivolous lawsuit has been filed by candidate Eric Schmitt, this one targeting our organization. MSBA is a not-for-profit organization that supports school boards in their efforts to ensure students succeed and, in doing so, following the law. This lawsuit is a political stunt by candidate Schmitt and, as citizens of Missouri, it’s discouraging to see his state office being turned into an extension of his campaign,” said Melissa Randol, executive director, Missouri School Boards’ Association.
“In the history of the Attorney General office, no Attorney General has ever sued a not-for-profit entity for violating the sunshine law. And a review of the lawsuit shows it is not the result of any complaint or important governmental policy, but rather to advance a particular political agenda. Not-for-profit entities everywhere should be terrified. This lawsuit is simply inappropriate,” said Chuck Hatfield, attorney representing MSBA.
The lawsuit is asking for the Boone County Circuit Court to enter a judgment requiring MSBA to comply with the Sunshine Law.
Schmitt has also sued 45 Missouri K-12 public school districts this year over COVID-19 health measures. None of those lawsuits included any of the state’s public charter schools, which all had coronavirus-related policies in place at the time the suits were filed.
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