Parent of child sent home from school via Lyft sues CCSD over records

Parent of child sent home from school via Lyft sues CCSD over records
A parent of a CCSD student claims in a lawsuit the school district failed to release records relating to her son being sent home via an unauthorized ride in a Lyft vehicle. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A lawsuit filed against the Charleston County School District claims it broke the law by failing to release records on an incident in which a child was sent home through a ride-hailing service.

Marlesha Heyward complained that on April 30, a district employee at Springfield Elementary School put her son in the back of a vehicle operated by a Lyft driver. Heyward said she did not call Lyft to take her child home, and a letter to the school district from her attorney claims the district employee did not confirm if the Lyft driver was authorized to pick up Heyward’s son.

On May 3, Heyward’s attorneys sent a written letter to the district that requested all video showing a district employee placing the child in the vehicle from midnight on April 29 through midnight on May 1 be preserved. The letter also requested the personnel file of a district employee be preserved along with all documents, internal memos, emails, handwritten notes and other materials related to the incident.

Heyward sent the school district a Freedom of Information Act request for video of the incident and documents, but said the district only gave her documents. The suit claims she sent a second FOIA request but the district never responded.

The suit states Heyward’s attorneys requested an update on the status of the request on Sept. 27 and claims the CCSD’s release “remains incomplete and does not include all non-exempt public records” in the district’s control that were requested “on multiple occasions.”

The suit also alleges the district violated its own policies and procedures related to preserving video evidence for a certain time period.

Legally, CCSD had 10 days to respond to that request, but Heyward said she sent in the second request in September ahd has not received a response.

The suit seeks attorney fees as well as the fees for the FOIA requests.

Late Thursday, the Charleston County School District said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Heyward has not responded to a request for comment on the suit.

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