New law would say you can’t see a student’s private records
Student records are confidential, even if personal information is redacted.
A recent state Supreme Court ruling said that, and now a New Jersey legislator wants state law to say that.
"We are going to protect the privacy of students. We're going to keep their information confidential, as it should be," Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Ocean, told New Jersey 101.5.
Dancer's bill, which was referred to the Assembly Education Committee, expands the student records exemption under the Open Public Records Act to prohibit access even if personal information is removed.
In July, the state Supreme Court ruled this way in response to litigation against school districts concerning OPRA requests. Specifically, a parent in Camden was attempting to compare the records of her special-needs child with the records of others. The Supreme Court's split decision upheld a ruling by an appeals court panel made in 2017.
Dancer said OPRA was designed to ensure government transparency, not to be a tool for invading personal privacy. Dancer said "financial predators" and prospective employers have used the OPRA route to gather information on a student.
"Student records are personal records and should not be available for public consumption," he said.
Dancer said in today's digital world, one can't be so certain that "redacted" information can't be uncovered anyway, so the documentation shouldn't be shared in the first place.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.