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I’m on the student newspaper and I wanted to find out why my school made so many changes to our school lunch program recently. I submitted a FOIA request asking to see all of the principal’s email messages in the past year. The school told me it was going to charge me $5,000 to turn over the emails! I can’t afford that, so I can’t do the story. Is this right? Can the school charge me this much? Aren’t the emails public info?
A family likely cannot get the principal to remove the story due to the legal reason of invasion of privacy. However, as journalists, ethically, you should consider the feelings of the family in your publication, and treat the issue with respect, focusing on the life of the student, rather than their death.