In a letter to the O-D, the district indicated that it believes releasing the video of 11-year-old Michael Polak Jr. would constitute “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” one of several exemptions included in state law.This is nonsense, as reading the definition of "an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" in the Freedom of Information Law under §89 subdivision (2) will reveal. Another misused law school districts sometimes cite to withhold video evidence from the public is the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), arguing that disclosure of a video would be the release of a record with "personally identifying information" about a student because someone might recognize a student.
At some point the public must demand that common sense prevails.
There is nothing private about riding on a public school bus -- or about being dropped off the bus. If the Utica school district calls release of the video of a student getting dropped off an "invasion of personal privacy" then perhaps it should shut down its cable channel because they broadcast videos of students all day.
The public can see through this. The school district could care less about personal privacy. What it is worried about is that the video may show malfeasance and expose the district to liability.