• Dennis McCaslin

McCutchen files FOIA request for client against Jonesboro Public Library Board

Joey McCutchen

Fort Smith Attorney Joey McCutchen, along with his client Amanda Escue, filed a FOIA complaint against the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library Board.

The lawsuit arose after the "Sensitive Content Subcommittee" — a subcommittee of the parent library Board — met without giving notice to the public.

The Subcommittee is comprised of Library Director David Eckert and three members of the parent library Board.

The Subcommittee meeting in question was held after the parent Board was notified that several books in the library's children's section contain nudity, sexual conduct, and graphic images of various sexual acts.

Examples include the books "Gender Queer," "It's Perfectly Normal," and "l8r, g8r." The Subcommittee members discussed their opinions about whether or not it should be the Board's responsibility to screen these books from the children's section of the library.

You can read the entire complaint by clicking the link below. (Excerpts from the books are included as exhibits in the Complaint.)

Download PDF • 16.24MB

Library Director David Eckert told the other Subcommittee members that no advertising of the Subcommittee meeting was necessary. Eckert added that he was confident that the Subcommittee meeting was in compliance with all FOIA requirements.

McCutchen said, "The Arkansas Supreme Court has clearly held that subcommittee meetings are subject to the notice requirements of FOIA. The Board had an obligation to notify the public and the press of this meeting."

McCutchen added, “Parents have a right to know when library book shelves are being filled with sexually-explicit material. When library meetings are held in secret, parents can’t participate and don’t know what their children are being exposed to.”

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