Conway High School Ronny Willhite, Creative Commons

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Ashley Savage has an article today that looks at the Conway School District’s email deletion policy.

Shortly after Jeff Collum became superintendent, the district began automatically deleting emails after three days unless they had been archived.

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John Tull, a lawyer who received the Freedom of Information Award from the Arkansas Press Association, told the newspaper, “In my 38 years of working with the FOIA, [this policy] is the most egregious thumbing of the nose at transparency and FOIA I have ever seen.”

“I do not believe a court would find such policy valid and subjects the board to lawsuits for violation even though the FOIA does not have a specific retention policy,” Tull said.

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As the Arkansas Times has previously reported, in August 2021, the month after Collum became superintendent, the district decided to automatically delete emails that had not been archived after 72 hours.

The Democrat-Gazette article also noted that another Arkansas attorney, Tom Mars, wrote in a Nov. 14 tweet, “The email retention policy shows the lengths to which the Conway School District has gone to keep the public from knowing the details of its so-called ‘Christian’ campaign against trans kids.”

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In his tweet, Mars added, “What would Jesus do? Pretty sure he wouldn’t be deleting his emails every three days.”

Mars’ reference was to policies the Conway School Board has recently adopted targeting transgender students and adults.

You can read the full Democrat-Gazette article here, although there is a paywall.