Illinois Privacy of School Records Laws

As students we always feared the threat of something ending up on our “permanent record.” We were always certain the school had an enormous file which include that time we skipped first period or that “C” we got in biology. But who gets to see what is actually included in your school records, and what exactly can they see? Here is a brief summary of school records laws in Illinois.

General School Records Laws

In addition to federal protections granted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Illinois School Student Records Act requires each school to designate an official student records custodian. Illinois privacy of school records law also allows plaintiffs to collect damages for violations of privacy.

Privacy School Records Laws in Illinois

State privacy of school records laws can vary from state to state. A basic summary of the Illinois statute can be found in the following table.

Code Section

105 ILCS 10/1, et seq.

Who Has Access to School Records?

Inspection allowed by students and parents but restricted to third parties. Exceptions listed in 105 ILCS 10/6 (1-9). Information communicated in confidence by a student or parents to school personnel is not available. All rights and privileges become student's exclusively at age 18.

Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws

Damages and other remedies available

Generally, people have the right to be free from an unreasonable intrusion into personal matters. This freedom exists even in a school setting. The right to privacy for students extends to admissions, conduct, and education records. If a student’s personal information is disclosed to unauthorized third parties without his or her consent, or if a student faces an unauthorized search of his or her locker or backpack, a student's right of privacy is violated It is often difficult for school administrators to balance a student's privacy with the school administration’s right to know when these issues can involve the safety of other students and members of the community. In most cases, students have fewer privacy protections in school than out of school. This usually means searches of lockers or handbags are permitted, but disclosure of confidential information is not.

Illinois Privacy of School Records Laws: Related Resources

State laws regarding education are constantly changing. If you would like legal assistance regarding a school records issue, you can contact an Illinois education attorney. You can also visit FindLaw’s school privacy section for more introductory information on this topic.

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