“The rule in Ohio is that public records are the people’s records, and that the officials in whose custody they happen to be are merely trustees for the people,” Ohio Supreme Court Justice Charles Zimmerman wrote more than 50 years ago.
And yet the Columbus Dispatch reports that several school districts have withheld records from the public since March. State law allows public institutions to withhold public records under certain conditions. But to withhold the records legally, the institution must cite the part of the law that allows them to do so. None of the school districts in this case have done so.
“Instead, officials simply refused to make the records available until they decided it was time to release them,” the Dispatch says.