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Local journalists join father asking Canyons School District to release security video

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4 2013 4:48 p.m. MST

The local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has filed an amicus brief with the Utah Court of Appeals in the case of a father petitioning Canyons School District for school security footage.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A local organization of journalists has joined a Cottonwood Heights man in calling on Canyons School District to release security camera footage of an altercation between students.

According to court documents, Roger Bryner filed a records request with the school district after his son was involved in a fight at school. His request was denied by district officials, who claimed the video constituted an "educational record" and was protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA.

The school district's decision was upheld in district court, and Bryner's case will now go before the Utah Court of Appeals.

On Wednesday, the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists filed an amicus brief with the court calling for the video to be released.

"SPJ feels strongly that student safety is of the utmost interest to an informed public, and the misuse of FERPA in this case would significantly damage the public's right to know what is going on in schools," Sheryl Worsley, Utah Headliners president and KSL NewsRadio news director, said in a prepared statement.

"If the school district is allowed to shield itself by incorrectly claiming surveillance camera footage is the same as a test or grading record, then the public school system can’t be held accountable for keeping students in public schools safe," Worsley said.

Canyons spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook said Wednesday that the district had not been served with any briefs.

"We reaffirm our position that school security footage is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act," Toomer-Cook said.

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com

Twitter: bjaminwood

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