“Students don't shed their constitutional rights
at the school house gates."
Central Legal Question We Will Explore:
How do schools balance students’
constitutional rights with schools’ needs to
maintain order and a positive educational
This talk is not about some abstract case studies.
This talk is about you.
What We Will Discuss:
Student Privacy Rights on Campus
Students’ Use of Social Networks
Student Records and Privacy
School Use of Third Party Online Vendors
Public Relations & Privacy Issues
uncharted legal territory
Everyday Scenarios with
the Internet & Technology
Scenario #1: Asking a student for their social
network login credentials.
Not only is the case law all over the place,
various states are debating legislative
proposals to address this issue.
Additionally, the Terms of Service of sites like
Facebook expressly prohibit this activity.
Scenario #2: Using private sector tracking
software to monitor students.
Ask yourself the questions:
Why and How are you using these monitoring
Scenario #3: Using RFID - Radio Frequency
Tracking students in this manner can be
costly, hard to manage and intrusive.
It can also be a public relations nightmare.
Scenario #4: Accessing Photos or Information
from a Device Such as a Cell or Smartphone.
Seminal Case on Student Privacy:
New Jersey v. TLO
G.C. v. Owensboro Public Schools (2013)
N.N. v. Tunkhannock Area School Dist. (2011)
Mendoza v. Klein Ind. Sch. Dist. (2011)
Scenario #5: Using Webcams or Other Means
to Take Photos of Students, Especially if the
Device Goes Off-Campus.
Robbins ex. rel Robbins v.
Lower Merion School District (2010)
“LMSD is enjoined from accessing or reviewing any
student-created files contained on student laptops
(including but not limited to documents, e-mails,
instant messaging records, photographs, Internet
usage logs, and Web browsing histories) for any
reason except as permitted by the policies and
regulations contemplated by paragraph 7 of this
Order or otherwise pursuant to a signed consent
form that clearly and conspicuously sets forth the
ability of LMSD to access or review such files.”
Obama Administration proposal that would
have allowed sharing students' personal
information with other state officials and
private entities for a broad spectrum of
activities without the consent of parents.
May just be the beginning of these types of
Scenario #7: Parent Dissemination of User
Social Media Amplifies Broadcast Potential
Policies should be in place for parents taking
photos with smartphones and sharing on
Consider the implication for children in
situations where parents may have protective
or other restraining orders.
Parent & Staff Education
You may think it’s common sense, but write it
down and share it with parents and staff
“Personally identifiable information” is information
that identifies a particular person. “Pii” includes:
• Full name;
• National identification number;
• IP address;
• Vehicle registration plate number;
• Driver’s license number;
• Credit card numbers;
• Digital identity;
• Date of birth;
• Birthplace; and
• Genetic information.
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
Requires websites to get parental consent before
collecting or sharing info for children under 13.
Enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.
Applies to commercial websites and other online
It’s just good sense for schools too.
Social Media Privacy Act
Enacted to protect students at universities and
employees from the demand of usernames and
On the horizon - may be amendments to apply to
K-12 schools (exemptions for instances involving
Protecting Student Records
Over 8 million student privacy records have been
lost from nearly 600 security breaches since 2005.