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FOIL-AO-17777

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From:   Freeman, Robert (DOS)
Sent:    Monday, August 24, 2009 2:19 PM
To:      
Subject:           RE: FOIL Question

Hi - -

The question has arisen on several occasions.  Although I am uncomfortable disclosing the information, without, of course, any portion that could identify any particular student, I question whether, in a lawsuit, the District could meet the burden of proving that §87(2)(f) is applicable.  That provision, as you know, authorizes an agency to withhold records insofar as disclosure “could endanger the life or safety of any person.”  Students congregate at bus stops in plain sight on each school day, busses can be followed, and many districts publish and disseminate bus schedules or routes in order to enable parents to know when and where their children are or should be before and after school.  In short, bus routes are often known through publication,  or they can become known with little effort.

I do not believe that §2801-a of the Education Law applies, for it focuses on “crisis intervention, emergency response and management”.  Bus routes are followed routinely, and characterizing information concerning daily bus routes  in the context of your inquiry does not, in my view, deal with crisis intervention or emergency response and management.

If you would like to discuss the matter, please feel free to call.

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
Suite 650
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
Phone: (518)474-2518
Fax: (518)474-1927
Website: www.dos.ny.gov/coog/index.html