Minnesota Privacy of School Records Laws

As students, we've all wondered what our teachers were writing down about us and what might wind up on our "permanent record." While some of us picture a manila folder in a filing cabinet containing all our misdeeds, it's not hard for younger readers to imagine an online database with every report card and detention slip. Fortunately for us there are laws in the North Star State that restrict who can have access to your school records. Here's a quick introduction to privacy of school records laws in Minnesota.

General School Records Laws

There has always been a bit of a push-and-pull when it comes to who has access to a public school student's records at the state level. On the one hand, parents contend that they need to information regarding their child's progress, and therefore must have unfettered access to the school's records. Teachers and administrators, on the other hand, argue that they should the ability to deal with their students in confidence, absent any unnecessary parental interference. At the federal level, students' school records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Privacy of School Records Laws in Minnesota

In Minnesota, only students and their guardians have access to a school records. Minnesota's privacy of school records laws are highlighted in the following table.

Code Section

MN Statutes §13.02, et seq.

Who Has Access to School Records?

Records are private except for directory information and shall be released only pursuant to valid court order. Minor may request information to be withheld from parent or guardian if in best interest of minor.

Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws

Willful violation by political subdivision: exemplary damages of not less than $100 and not more than $10,000 for each violation; injunctive relief

Records Covered By Privacy Laws

Generally speaking, a student’s privacy right extends to admissions information, education records, and conduct reports. Additionally, if any his or her personal information is disclosed to unauthorized third parties without his or her consent, a student's privacy rights might be violated. The right to be free from an unreasonable intrusion into personal matters exists to a lesser extent for students in a school setting, and the school administration’s right to know and control the school environment will often outweigh a student's privacy interest when the safety of other students and members of the community is at issue. Therefore, while disclosure of confidential information is not permitted, limited searches of lockers or handbags may be.

Minnesota Privacy of School Records Laws: Related Resources

State education laws relating to privacy can be confusing. You can contact a Minnesota education attorney if you would like legal assistance regarding a school records matter. You can also find additional information and resources on this topic in FindLaw’s School Privacy section.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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