OLYMPIA — A fight between two elementary school students that was caught on a school bus surveillance video is a public record and must be turned over to the parents who requested it, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The high court says the video cannot be withheld on claims it is part of a student’s personal file. The court says school bus videos are not exempt from the Public Disclosure Act.
The case involves an altercation between two elementary students on Oct. 8, 2003, that was recorded on a school bus surveillance camera.
Parents Richard and Ginger Lindeman were denied a copy of the video and sued the Kelso School District.
In Thursday’s ruling, the Supreme Court overturned lower court rulings and ordered the district to turn over the video to the Lindemans, as well as pay attorney fees, costs and penalties.
“Here, the surveillance camera serves as a means of maintaining security and safety on the school buses. The videotape from the surveillance camera differs significantly from the type of record that schools maintain in students’ personal files,” the majority, led by Justice Susan Owens, wrote.