Friday, October 17, 2014

The FOIA Request

I faxed my Freedom of Information Act Request to the Fort Worth ISD legal department, and since I was told that fax is the fastest way to get the information from them, I expect to receive a response within the 10 days at the most, but hopefully within the week. If I do not receive a response, I will call them again, and then email my request.

Here is my request letter:

Fort Worth Independent School District
Public Information Request
Attention: Legal Services: Valerie Carrillo/ JoAnna Gomez
100 N. University Dr., Suite SW 172
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Freedom of Information Act Request
Dear Ms. Carrillo and Ms. Gomez,
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I request that a copy of the following documents, or documents containing the following information, be provided to me: A list of the banned or suspended books in the past two years, a list of which books were requested to be banned or suspended in the past two years. I also request to be provided an explanation of the process the school district undergoes to decide which books to suspend or ban.
I request a waiver of all fees for this request. I am a journalism student at Texas Christian University requesting the documents in the public’s interest. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations contributing to the suspension and ban of books from public school students, and is not in any way for my commercial interest.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Molly Spain
TCU Box 290716
Fort Worth, TX, 76129
Cell: 972-978-2759


Monday, October 6, 2014

Banned Books FOI Project

I am requesting documents from Fort Worth Independent School District to obtain information regarding banned books over the past few years in the school district. I would like information regarding titles most frequently complained about. I would like to see the process the district utilizes to decide which books to suspend or ban, and which books have been suspended and banned in the past few years. I contacted the school district via phone and was redirected to the legal department, where they told me I must fax my formal request. It was interesting that they requested a fax rather than an email.
The reason why I chose to do this topic is because I am an English minor and am always interested in what about the literature sparks such debate in parents and school districts. The Highland Park incident a week or so ago also piqued my interest since the books on their ban list included An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, which is contemporary teen fiction. Green writes specifically for that high school audience. It was even more interesting, however, that the decision was later repealed.
This is why I would like to pursue the topic further, except in a different school district, to see how the process is handled.