All emails written by staff should be viewed as constituting public records unless the emails fall within a specific exception.
One significant exception to emails being public records are those emails directly related to a student and maintained by the school district. Such emails are education records pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and, while they are not public records, the parent has the right to access the emails.
Although school districts must also be mindful of the confidentiality of personnel records, in order for a specific email to constitute a personnel record and, thus, not be a public record, the procedural requirements of Idaho Code Section 33-518 must be strictly followed. The procedural requirements include timely notice of all materials placed in a personnel file and the right for the employee to attach a rebuttal to any materials placed in the personnel file.
There is no reasonable expectation that emails sent or received on school district equipment are “private."
Blackfoot School District #55
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