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Policy Manual

8350 - Confidentiality

State and Federal law requires that student education records, including health records, be confidential (see Policy 8330). State law also exempts certain information and records from public disclosure (see Policy 8310). As such, the School Board is obligated to take appropriate steps to maintain certain information and records as confidential. Individuals who have access to student education records may not remove them from Board property without express permission from the building principal or supervisor. An individual authorized to remove student education records from school property is responsible for the safety and security of the records and for returning them to the District intact.

Confidential information and records may not be disclosed except as authorized by Board policy and procedures. Individuals who have access to confidential information and records while employed by the Board are reminded that their legal obligation to maintain such confidences extends beyond their term of employment in the District and they are prohibited from releasing, disclosing, or otherwise disseminating confidential information or records subsequent to leaving the Board's employ. The Board directs the Superintendent to prepare procedures concerning Board employees’ duties to maintain certain information and records as confidential.

Confidential Information Received from Another Public Agency

It is further the policy of the Board that when the District receives in trust from a public agency information identified as confidential (whether such information is confidential by Florida law, Common Law Privilege, Case Law, or Federal law), the Board will maintain the confidentiality of said information to the maximum extent permitted by the law.

The following portion of this policy applies only to the identified confidential information received from a public agency.

In order to prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of information identified as confidential by the sending public agency, the Board may seek to obtain court protection by:

  A. denying requests for release of such information absent subpoena or court order;

 

  B. pursuing motions to quash or protective orders to prohibit unauthorized/unlawful disclosure of such information.

 

When possible, the Board will attempt to notify the sending public agency of the request for release of confidential information that it provided to the District before complying with the request.

Limited Use of Social Security Numbers and Other Statutorily Exempt Information

The District recognizes the need to safeguard privacy and restrict access to personally identifiable information contained in employee and student personnel records collected in the course of the District's business. Pursuant to State law, all social security numbers held by the District are confidential and exempt from F.S. 119.071 and Section 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution. This exemption applies to all social security numbers held by the District before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption. In addition, there are statutory exemptions for other personally identifiable information.

It is the policy of the Board that neither the Board nor its employees shall permit the release of the social security numbers or other statutorily exempt information of an employee, student, or other individual except in accordance with State and Federal law. Access to documents containing social security numbers shall be restricted to only those District employees who have a need to know such information.

Further, it is the policy of the Board that social security numbers shall only be collected in order to fulfill its responsibilities as prescribed by law. The District, upon the collection of an individual's social security number shall provide that person with a statement of the purpose or purposes for which the social security number is being collected and used. Social security numbers shall not be used by the District for any purpose other than the purpose or purposes stated when the social security number was collected.

Pursuant to State law, the Board shall request that each student enrolled in the District provide his/her social security number so that it can be used to create a unique student identification number in the information management system maintained by the District. However, no student or parent will be required to provide his/her social security number as a condition of enrollment or graduation. The District shall record the student’s permanent record and shall indicate in that record if the number recorded is not a social security number.

Pursuant to State law, if a document containing social security numbers and/or other statutorily exempt information is to be released in compliance with a public records request, the social security numbers and/or the other statutorily exempt information shall be redacted before the document is provided to the requestor.

Social security numbers may be disclosed to another governmental entity or its agents or employees if disclosure is necessary for that agency to perform its duties and responsibilities. The District shall inform the receiving agency in writing of its obligation to maintain the confidential and exempt status of such information.

Responsibility to Enforce This Policy and Consequences for Failing to Do So

As described above, the Board prohibits the release of social security numbers and other statutorily exempt, confidential information to unauthorized persons or entities.

If an employee is asked to provide a social security number or other statutorily exempt information from a file or record maintained by the District, the employee shall refuse to release the social security number and/or the other statutorily exempt information, and shall notify his/her immediate supervisor as soon as practicable.

Employees who intentionally display, disclose, transfer, or unlawfully use the social security number of any student, employee, or other individual, as well as any other statutorily exempt, confidential information, in violation of this policy shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

Accordingly, the Superintendent shall provide all staff with access to this policy. In addition, the Superintendent shall take the steps necessary so that staff who have access to files and records that contain confidential information and/or social security numbers are made aware of their responsibility to see that such information is released only in accordance with Federal and State law and this policy, as well as the consequences if they fail in that regard.

F.S. 119.07(1)d, 119.071(5)(a)2, 119.071(5)(a)3, 119.071(5)(a)4, 119.071(5)(a)5
F.S. 1008.386
20 U.S.C. 1232g

Revised 4/1/14

© Neola 2009

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