William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 9 Privacy Issues - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 9 Privacy Issues


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Title: William Kritsonis, School Law, Ch 9 Privacy Issues

Privacy Issues Community,Educators, and Students
  • William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

The Right of Privacy
vs. The Right to Know
The community, educators, and students
have the RIGHT to Privacy and the RIGHT to
Depending on circumstance
The Communitys Right to Know.
Texas Open Meetings
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Texas Public Information ACT
The Right to Know
  • 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
  • Name, sex, ethnicity, salary, title, and dates of
  • Educators degree obtained and curriculum studied
  • Records and allegations against a school personnel
  • All personal Information and lifestyle matters
    that will violate someones privacy
  • Evaluation documents
  • Transcripts

Parents and Students
  • Rights to Know
  • vs.
  • Rights to Privacy

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Parent/Students Rights
  • 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.

  • Parents can deny the release of information to
    third parties pertaining to their child
  • Parents have unlimited access to their childs
    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

  • 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

  • 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


The Right to Privacy or the Right to Know
  • Are students protected by the Fourth Amendment
    the right from unreasonable searches when
    randomly asked to submit to a urine test?

Yes, BUT.
  • 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

Searches and Seizures
  • Do school officials hold the same RIGHTS as
    parents to search a student to preserve order?

  • YES!.....
  • School officials can search a student if
  • 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.
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
  • 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 teachers
school-district owned computer private
  • NO!

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

Law of defamation slander and libel
  • 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
    ones occupation.
  • Two types of defamation
  • slander- oral statements
  • libel- written statements

Educators have a RIGHT to take legal action
against defamation if
  • 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
  • Employees have the RIGHT to clear their names if
    their reputation is stigmatized due to
  • Hammond v. Katy ISD

  • 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 someones constitutional rights and the
    risk of a lawsuit. Know the difference between
    the Right to KNOW and the Right to PRIVACY.
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