The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 10, 2012

State school officials respond to records lawsuit

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Education officials say they have only refused to release information on the effect of the state's new immigration law that they felt would violate current federal privacy laws.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Centers accuses the department of refusing to release data showing how Alabama's law cracking down on illegal immigrants has affected Hispanic students. The lawsuit says the SPLC has requested a copy of information that education officials have sent to the U.S. Justice Department.

Responding to the lawsuit, Alabama Schools Superintendent Tommy Bice said the material requested was part of ongoing negotiations with the justice department and are not considered public records.

He said the department believes in transparency while maintaining the privacy rights of students.

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