The following article is a guest post by Sarah Hurley who is a freelance writer that is passionate about what is happening in the community and provides social commentary and information for concerned citizens to take action.

In my last blog post, I covered 10 questions you can ask to find out what’s happening in your child’s school regarding critical race theory (CRT) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Another approach to gathering information on these efforts is to request access to specific documents, programs, assessments, and other records. There’s a way to access that information, too. In fact, you’re entitled to it. This post covers how to follow the process to request specific records from Carmel Clay Schools.

Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act

Similar to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, Indiana’s Access to Public Records Acts (APRA), Ind. Code § 5- 14-3-1, codifies that all people have the right to full and complete information in regard to government affairs and the public officials and employees who represent them. This means that you have the right to request and review school records, reports, curricula, books, assessments, and more. As it turns out, the process to request these public records is straightforward and fast.

How Make a Formal Records Request

Parents can utilize this process to request specific documents and information about CRT, DEI, and the like. Here’s what you do.

1) Determine what to request and be specific. The more vague you are, the more likely the response will be that your request doesn’t exist. If you want data, be specific. If you know the name of a report, ask for it by name. This may be the trickiest part. You’ll have to know what you’re asking for.

2) Make the request. The Carmel City Office of Corporation Counsel handles public record requests. To submit a request, go to Request for Disclosure of Public Records. Alternatively you can also email your request to Corporation’s attorney, Andrew Manna at Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim ([email protected]).

3) Follow-up (if necessary). There are no limits to the number of requests you can submit. To check the status of your request email [email protected]

Things To Keep In Mind

No public agency may refuse to honor a public records request, as long as the request is made with “reasonable particularity.” The public agency may not charge a fee for the service. The public agency may charge a modest fee for physical photocopies made, but is required to provide electronic records if they are available. The public agency may not unreasonably delay and may not plead that other business is more important or the cause of an unreasonable delay. If your request requires an inordinate amount of time, they reserve the right to charge for that, too.

Be nice but firm. Remember, you have the right to this information, and you have the right (and the responsibility) to know what’s being taught to your child. Asking questions and accessing documentation are two ways to proactively inform yourself.

Sample Language

“Pursuant to Indiana Code § 5-14-3-3, I request from the Carmel Clay School Corporation (the “Corporation”), for each of the items listed below, the prompt delivery of copies, or to allow me to make copies, as outlined in the Indiana Code § 5-14-3-3(b) (1) and (2). Please note that Indiana Code § 5-14-3-3(d), if any of these records are maintained in electronic form, you are obligated to make them available to me in that form, and you may send those to my email address, _______.” [Insert list of items desired.]

The More You Know

Knowledge is power. If you aren’t getting answers to your questions, try this route. When you get information, please share it freely. It is up to us as parents and concerned citizens to understand what is happening in our children’s schools and to protect them from potential indoctrination. Together, and hopefully in partnership with CCS, let’s work to ensure we equip the next generation how to think critically, not what to think unquestioningly.

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