Obfuscation, Part 1 of 2: Willis ISD attempts to prevent viewing of “Drag Queen” records, but Cook outsmarts school district

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Willis, February 27 – Willis Independent School District (WISD) vociferously tried to rebuff renowned conservative activist Kelli Cook’s request under the Texas Public Information Act (“PIA”) for all memoranda, emails, and text messages “pertaining to the Drag Queen aka Lynn Adonis” whom ultraliberal administrators and teachers invited to the school to teach makeup techniques to a children’s cosmetology class, on October 18, 2019, and thereby created a public uproar. Cook, however, outsmarted the school district and inspected and then obtained records nonetheless.

The drag queen had no training or certification in cosmetology or even in makeup. Rather, Willis High School Principal Stephanie Hodgins, whose ultraliberal husband Chris teaches in the Conroe Independent School District (CISD), chose to bring the drag queen into the school specifically because he was a drag queen in the sexually-oriented business industry.

WISD’s first attempted rebuff of Cook’s PIA request came in the form of a demand that Cook pay the school district $8,636.70 before the embattled governmental institution would release the information to her. A full copy of WISD’s December 17, 2019, letter to Cook appears at the bottom of this article.

Eventually, however, after Cook requested an inspection “to see what I’m going to pay for,” the school district had to allow her to look at the documents and could only charge her $81.00 for making the documents available for electronic view on the district’s computer system. Two weeks ago, Cook inspected the documents and discovered that the vast majority of them were budget materials stuck in between a few documents actually responsive to her request.

Cook only requested sixty-one (61) pages of the materials and eventually paid $6.10 (or ten cents per page) to receive all of the responsive documents. Cook explained to this newspaper, “I only paid them for the actual stuff which I asked for.” Willis ISD tried to pad the bill by including duplicate emails.

This newspaper will disclose the contents of the documents Cook received in Part 2 of this series on “Obfuscation.”

Cook explained, “I asked for THREE employees emails regarding the drag queen: the principal, the principal’s secretary, and the cosmetology teacher. In order to accommodate the school district, I have been narrowing the scope of my request for about a month already.”

WISD claimed, in a letter dated December 17, 2019, to Cook that there are 68,367 pages of memoranda, emails, and text messages pertaining to the Drag Queen. That’s quite a remarkable statistic, because it suggest that WISD’s administration produced or received approximately 2,735 memoranda, emails, and text messages per day (!) about the Drag Queen. Clearly, WISD has no desire whatsoever to produce the documents, which the law requires made available to the public.

WISD’s first line of defense was to try to charge Cook $8,636.70 for copies, labor, and “overhead” for the Public Information Act document production.

WISD’s first line of defense is to try to charge Cook $8,636.70 for copies, labor, and “overhead” for the Public Information Act document production.

After Cook responded to the school district and requested to view the records to see if the $8,636.70 the governmental entity attempted to charge was a fair price and to see if the documents were actually responsive to her request, the school district fired back on January 15, 2020, with a demand of $1,710.00 just for Cook to view the documents!

“Willis ISD ought to be ashamed of itself. If there really are 68,367 of documents about the Drag Queen, then the school district has turned itself into a Drag Queen Empire and little else. Do they deal with education matters ever or is their entire purpose to promote the LGBTQ agenda,” Cook said in an exclusive interview with The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper. “I will not accept their clear obfuscation of my and the people’s rights. We’ll see what General Paxton says about this situation.”

In a related action, however, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sustained the objection of another requestor seeking information from the CISD, which tried to scare away a public information request concerning internal political discussions within the CISD administration. Much to the horror of CISD, however, the requestor paid CISD’s requested amount and then filed a complaint with the Attorney General and won the complaint. CISD had to refund a portion of the paid funds to the requestor. Please see “Texas Attorney General Paxton Sustains Yollick’s Objection To Conroe ISD ‘Open Records’ Overcharges, Directs Refund,” The Golden Hammer, December 5, 2019.

WISD’s administration is attempting the same method of hiding public information in response to Cooks’ request. Cook, however, outsmarted the school district when she asked to see the public information in a public viewing first before she paid for it. “I wanted to see for what they’re ask me to pay,” Cook explained in an exclusive interview with this newspaper. “I’m not going to buy something sight unseen.”

So far, WISD has not responded to Cook’s request on December 17 to review the responsive documents before she pays for them.

“Willis ISD won’t get away with hiding this information from us,” Cook said. “They need to follow the law.”

Willis ISD administration officials refused to return telephone calls seeking comment for this article.

Willis ISD’s December 17, 2019, letter follows:

Willis ISD letter to Kelli Cook, dated December 17, 2019, page 1.
Willis ISD letter, dated December 17, 2019, to Kelli Cook, page 2.

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