South Carolina Privacy of School Records Laws

For as long as kids have been going to school, they’ve been worrying about what will end up on their “permanent record.” Fortunately for those of us who might have taken a couple trips to the principal’s office, the Palmetto State has laws that restrict who can have access to our school records. Here are the basics of privacy of school records laws in South Carolina.

General School Records Laws

The privacy of public school records is governed by both state and federal law. States have often crafted school records laws to balance parents on the one hand, who contend that they need to information regarding their child's progress, and teachers and administrators on the other, who argue that they should the ability to deal with their students in confidence. At the federal level, school records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Privacy of School Records Laws in South Carolina

The following table highlights some of South Carolina's privacy of school records laws.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 30-1-10, et seq.: Public Records

Who Has Access to School Records?

Records of school district considered public records and dealt with according to Title 30.

Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws

Any person who unlawfully removes or destroys records is fined between $200 and $5,000 and guilty of a misdemeanor; failure to deliver is a misdemeanor and may yield a fine of $500

Records Covered By Privacy Laws

As a general rule, a student has a privacy right to his or her admissions information, education records, and conduct reports which is violated if any his or her personal information is disclosed to unauthorized third parties without his or her consent. While the right to be free from an unreasonable intrusion into personal matters exists to a certain extent for students in a school setting, the school administration’s right to know and control the school environment will often outweigh a student's privacy interest if the safety of other students and members of the community is at issue. Therefore, while the disclosure of a student’s confidential personal information is not permitted, limited searches of a student’s locker or backpack may be.

South Carolina Privacy of School Records Laws: Related Resources

Privacy laws in a school setting can be confusing. You can find more articles and resources on this topic in FindLaw’s School Privacy section. If you would like legal assistance regarding a school records matter, you can contact a South Carolina education attorney.

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