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Illinois Privacy of School Records Laws

In Illinois, laws protect the privacy of student education records. These laws ensure that the personal information of students, from their grades to their health records, stays safe and private. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law, sets federal standards. This law controls how school records should be handled across the United States. Illinois follows these federal guidelines closely, but it also has its own specific rules to give extra protection. Understanding these rules helps students and their families know their rights and responsibilities. Let's take a closer look at Illinois privacy laws below.

Privacy of School Records Laws Generally

School records include a wide range of student information, such as test scores, birth dates, and teacher evaluations. Under FERPA, which is also known as the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, schools must keep this information private. They can only share it under certain conditions. For example, school officials with legitimate educational interests can access student records. A “legitimate educational interest" means the information is necessary for them to perform their job.

Schools must also keep a record of release, showing who has accessed a student's records and why. If school records need to be shared with anyone else, such as law enforcement or a university, the school generally must have written permission. This consent must be given from a student's parent, legal guardian, or the eligible student if they are over 18 years old.

Illinois Privacy of School Records Laws

In Illinois, the laws about student privacy are outlined in the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA). It's also in the corresponding sections of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS). These laws state that both public and private schools must appoint an official records custodian. This person is responsible for maintaining and protecting the records. This custodian ensures that all access to records is legal and documented.

Illinois laws specify two types of records: permanent and temporary. Permanent records contain basic information like a student's name, birth date, and academic transcripts. Temporary records may include detailed information, such as disciplinary actions and teacher evaluations. These temporary records are usually destroyed after a certain period, as specified by the Illinois State Board of Education. This helps ensure that student information doesn't stay on file longer than necessary.

Code Section

Illinois School Student Records Act [105 ILCS 10].

Who Has Access to School Records?

Inspection is allowed by students and parents but restricted to third parties. Exceptions are listed in 105 ILCS 10/6 (1-9). Information communicated by a student or parents in confidence to school personnel is not available. All rights and privileges become a student's exclusive right at the age of 18.
Agency to Contact for Complaints You may want to file a complaint about school record privacy violations. If so, contact the U.S. Department of Education Student Privacy Policy Office.

Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws

Violations can result in severe penalties at the federal level. Schools found in violation of FERPA may face the loss of federal funding. This includes both grants and loans. Additionally, individuals responsible for unauthorized disclosure of student records can be held responsible. This means they are subject to fines or other disciplinary actions. The U.S. Department of Education imposes these actions.

Note: State laws are always subject to change and may do so at any time. They change most often through the enactment of newly signed legislation and higher court decisions. You also may want to contact an Illinois education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Getting Legal Help

In cases where legal help is needed to address violations of privacy laws or disputes regarding access to school records, individuals have the right to seek help. Lawyers can help clarify student privacy and parental rights. Attorneys with experience in education law can provide guidance and representation to protect students' rights. They can also help ensure compliance with applicable federal and state regulations and school district policies. Attorneys can also review subpoenas and other court orders.

Consult a qualified Illinois education attorney about your potential case today.

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