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Grand Rapids Press and its First Amendment Victory

Unfortunately, the Carmel (IN) school district still refuses to disclose the amount of settlement in a hazing case involving a swimmer:

Ottawa County judge orders release of payments made in hazing case
By Todd A. Heywood 3/31/10 3:53 PM Digg Tweet

The Grand Rapids Press won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Wednesday against Coopersville Area Public Schools.

The Press reports it sued the district to force the release of the monetary awards the district agreed to in settling a lawsuit over hazing incidents in the school.

The settlement was reached in July 2009, and the district had refused to disclose the amount of money awarded to two plaintiffs in the case.

But that was overruled Wednesday in court:

“The court concludes that the amount of money paid to settle the lawsuits is not confidential under the FOIA. The fact that the expense was incurred to settle lawsuits regarding embarrassing and private incidents does not make the expense personal information,” Ottawa County Circuit Court Judge Calvin Bosman decided.

The district compiled with the order Wednesday, announcing it had paid $95,000 to one plaintiff and $55,000 to another.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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