“If someone in the community wants a roaster of all the students in the school, the school must release the information, excluding the names of students whose parents requested their names to be exempt form discloser.
The penalty for illegal disclosure is withholding of federal funds from the school district through the U.S. Department of Education. DOES NOT APPLY TO STUDENTS GRADING EACH OTHERS PAPERS BECAUSE ITS NOT AND EDUCATIONAL RECORD KEPT BY THE DISTRICT. It’s not considered a “record” kept by the district until the grade is recorded in a grade book.
Reasonable is the key word here….the school official needs more than a feeling or a hunch!!!
Some commentators that advise school law are against “general searches or sweep” not involving health of safety reasons
Privacy Issues: Community,Educators, and Students William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
The purpose of this Act is to kept the public aware of the workings of the government
states “Every regular, special, or called meeting of a governmental body shall be OPEN to the public.”
The meetings must be held within the boundaries of the school district.
Open session meetings cover public business matters or public policies.
TOMA AT A Glance: Open Meetings
Defines meetings as staff briefing sessions where board members receive information or give information to a third party
A written notice must be accessible at the administration building to inform the public about the place, date, time, and subjects at lease 72 hours BEFORE the meeting
Only subjects on the written notice should be discussed
Tape recording or written minutes must be kept to reflect the subject(s) discussed, decisions, or other actions taken. These recordings will be kept for at least 2 years
Closed meetings that are NOT open to the public must involve:
EXCEPTIONS Purchase or lease of real estate property Security measures Receipt of gifts Consultation with attorney Personnel matters Economic development Certain homeland security matters **Closed meetings must adequately describe the subjects that will be discussed in a public notice
Guarantees the public has access to government information. The Texas Government Code gives citizens the right to access government records, without having to state a reason for the request.
Every citizen is entitled to a prompt and appropriate response to an open records request.
Texas Public Information ACT The Right to Know
Texas Public Information ACT RIGHT TO KNOW RIGHT TO PRIVACY
Name, sex, ethnicity, salary, title, and dates of employment
Educator’s degree obtained and curriculum studied
Records and allegations against a school personnel
All personal Information and lifestyle matters that will violate someone’s privacy Evaluation documents Transcripts
Rights to Know vs. Rights to Privacy Parents and Students’
FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds from the state This Act ensure student and parental rights in education. It also allows a student to VIEW or COPY the items inside of their records. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act The Parent/Students’ Rights
Parents can deny the release of information to third parties pertaining to their child
Parents have unlimited access to their child’s attendance and counseling records, test scores, reports about behavior, and ANY files, documents, and other material maintained by the school district pertaining to their child.
Parents are entitled to receive a understanding about assessments that may be used to determine learning behaviors and personality traits. Parental consent is needed.
Parents can challenge or question the content found in the records and request an amendment to be added in the file if the records are misleading.
If a school violates the regulations of FERPA they risk the chance of termination of federal funding through the U.S. Department of Education. Educators can face termination of employment! McGilvray v. Moses, 1999 FERPA VIOLATIONS
The 4th Amendment guarantees the rights of the people to be secured in their persons, house, paper, and effects, against UNREASONABLE searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause
Are students protected by the Fourth Amendment “the right from unreasonable searches” when randomly asked to submit to a urine test?
The Right to Privacy or the Right to Know
As general rule, most districts practice their right to know when suspicion arises. If an individual is suspected of illegal drug possession or usage, they can be subjected to drug testing. *This rule also applies to educators. Some degree of individualized suspicion is needed Answer: Yes, BUT….
Searches and Seizures Do school officials hold the same RIGHTS as parents to search a student to preserve order?
a there is a REASONABLE cause that the student has violated a school rule or law. the search is appropriate for the age, gender, and nature of offence **A search can include lockers, cars, backpacks, and personal belongings
Reasonable Cause EXCEPTIONS Notice to students:
A school district or school can enforce a policy that requires a general search for ALL students. However, the students must be aware of this action in the student code of conduct. This includes random drug testing and metal detectors.
Students should also know that any item in “plain view” will be taken and could be subjected to discipline measures.
*students’ privacy rights are limited in the public school setting because the district is responsible and expected to maintain order.
Sniffer Dogs and Metal Detectors The use of sniffer dogs or metal detectors to inspect personal belongings, lockers and cars on school property is NOT considered a search during a general search. However…. Once a sniffer dog or metal detectors alerts school officials, there is grounds for REASONABLE SUSPICION and a search can be conducted to locate the contraband
The United States Supreme court ruled that public schools are entitled to protection of the Fourth Amendment. Yet, the courts realized that school officials may need to perform searches to maintain order. The FULL protection of the Constitution Does NOT apply to students.
The Educators’ Right to Know and Right to Privacy…
Right to know or the Right of privacy? Is the personal information stored on a teacher’s school-district owned computer private information?
Answer: If the computer was issued by the school for educational purposes, it should not be used for private or personal use. The information stored on the computer is NOT considered private information and can be inspected by the district at anytime.
“The constitutional right of privacy does not protect against the disclosure of information about unlawful activity” P.350
Defamation is false and unprivileged spoken words or written publication, which expose ridicules to lower the reputation of someone. These statements has a tendency to cause damage to one’s occupation. Two types of defamation: slander- oral statements libel- written statements Law of defamation: slander and libel
the words meets the definition of defamation the words were communicated to a third party the words are false caused injury These conditions suggest some defense to claim of defamation. Employees have the RIGHT to clear their names if their reputation is stigmatized due to defamation Hammond v. Katy ISD Educators have a RIGHT to take legal action against defamation if:
The community, educators, and students have the RIGHT to KNOW and the RIGHT to PRIVACY.
When a situation involves personal information, student records, students rights, work ethics, searches, and seizes, it is necessary for one act with caution and use common sense to avoid violating someone’s constitutional rights and the risk of a lawsuit. Know the difference between the Right to KNOW and the Right to PRIVACY.