IN Brief

Rokita’s office begins updates to “Eyes on Education” portal with responses from Indiana schools

By: - February 7, 2024 6:26 pm

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita unveiled his office’s new “Eyes on Education” transparency portal on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. (Screenshot from the portal on the Indiana Attorney General’s website.)

After pushback from a dozen Indiana school districts, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office is making changes to its new “Eyes on Education” portal that publicizes alleged examples of “indoctrination” in Hoosier schools.

The office said Wednesday it is in the process of “updating” the portal to include responses and clarifications from different districts. Rokita said in a radio interview before the portal went public that the office intended to include those responses but did not indicate a specific timeline or process for doing so.

So far, the portal includes an update to a submission about a gender support plan from the Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation, which laid out policies around privacy, confidentiality, preferred pronouns and restroom use for transgender students. 

Clark-Pleasant spokesperson Rick Hightower told the Indiana Capital Chronicle on Tuesday that policy is out of date and is no longer in effect.

Clark-Pleasant Superintendent Tim Edsell further said the district was not made aware of the portal or contacted by Rokita’s office about the submission before it went live.

As of Wednesday, the portal includes a note stating “the policy retired in 2023,” and included the PDF sent by the district itself, which indicates the meeting in which they voted to retire the policy.

An update to submissions pertaining to Clark-Pleasant schools in the “Eyes on Education” portal. (Screenshot from the portal on the Indiana Attorney General’s website.)

Still, Rokita’s office said it would not be taking down the 2021 policy “since we feel for transparency reasons it’s important for people to know it existed and was active for two years.”

A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said it’s “also important to know that just because the policy is outdated doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate information,” adding, “it was a real policy.”

No additional updates have been made to other portal submissions yet, though. Eight other school districts told the Capital Chronicle that portal submissions pertaining to them were “out of date” or “inaccurate.”

Rokita referred to “Eyes on Education” as a transparency tool that intends to “empower parents to further engage in their children’s education” and provide “real examples of indoctrination.”

The portal accepts submissions pertaining to K-12 classrooms, colleges, universities and “other affiliated academic entities in Indiana.” But it is unclear how, or if, they are vetting the accuracy of the allegations.

So far, “Eyes on Education” lists complaints lodged against 13 public K-12 school districts, as well as Indiana University’s School of Medicine.

Attorneys who spoke to the Capital Chronicle have so far expressed First Amendment concerns and said the portal creates questions about libel and defamation. The Indiana Department of Education additionally said it was not made aware of the new portal when it was under construction or when it launched.

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Casey Smith
Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.

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