Volume 17, Issue 5, 2011
Staff e-mail about safety issues that contain personally identifiable student information or questions about district compliance can come back to haunt schools.
The Family Education Rights Privacy Act allows the sharing of student information to prevent a safety emergency.
However, administrators should remind staff during in-service training that when they send an e-mail, they are creating written documentation, said Patrick Andriano, with Reed Smith LLP in Richmond, Va. E-mail can wind up in the student’s file or be used as evidence in a state complaint or school hearing, he said.
By training staff to use wise e-mail etiquette, you can avoid misunderstandings, protect relationships with parents and students, and avoid costly litigation.
“Many staff members think their computer is a private computer for their use in the school setting and are surprised to learn otherwise,” said Susan Freedman, an attorney with Shipman & Goodwin LLP in Hartford, Conn.
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Source: Maintaining Safe Schools. Copyright 2011 by LRP Publications, P.O. Box 24668, West Palm Beach, FL 33416-4668. All rights reserved.