Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher
70 Niagara Street, Suite 200 Buffalo , New York, 14202
Phone: 716-362-1533
Fax: 716-362-1534

The GAP Attorneys Blog

Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

Posts Tagged ‘confidentiality’

Parents’ retaliation allegation supersedes child abuse reporter confidentiality

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Grummons v. Williamson County Board of Education, 63 IDELR 61 (M.D. Tenn. 2014):  The parents of a student with a disability convinced a federal magistrate judge to supersede a state’s child abuse reporting confidentiality provisions.  The parents, suing under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, alleged that the school district reported them to the department of children’s services (DCS) in retaliation for the parents’ challenge to the district’s provision of special education services.  The court deemed the information relevant, but in order to balance the interest of confidential reporting, the requested information (namely, the identity of the individual(s) who submitted the report to DCS) would be disclosed to the parents, but was limited for use in the instant litigation and could only be disseminated on a “good faith need to know” basis.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Parents’ retaliation allegation supersedes child abuse reporter confidentiality

Court may order disclosure of classmate’s educational record as part of litigation.

Monday, March 18th, 2013

K.S. v. Detroit Public School System, 60 IDELR 73 (E.D. Mich. 2012):  A federal district court ordered a school district to provide parents of a student with a cognitive disability with copies of a classmate’s disciplinary records, notwithstanding the district’s obligations under FERPA to keep the classmate’s educational records confidential.  The district sought to protect the classmate’s disciplinary record, however the court noted that the classmate’s disciplinary history may be relevant in the student’s parents’ private lawsuit against the district for its alleged failure to protect the student by repeatedly placing her in situations in which she was at risk of being victimized by her classmate.  The court noted FERPA specifically allows for production of otherwise confidential records under a court order.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Court may order disclosure of classmate’s educational record as part of litigation.

Hearing records remain confidential, despite parent’s election of an open hearing.

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Oakstone Community School v. Williams, 58 IDELR 256 (S.D. Ohio 2012):  A federal district court ordered that the transcript, hearing exhibits, and first page of an IHO decision (following an impartial hearing) be sealed at the parent’s request.  The parent had exercised her right to an open hearing, and members of the public attended (including an individual who attempted to videotape the proceedings).  In light of the open hearing, the school sought to have the hearing records (including transcript and exhibits) kept from being held under seal in the federal court action.  The Court held for the parent, noting that, while the parent opted for an open hearing, the duty of confidentiality flowed to the student and the open hearing did not diminish the student’s privacy interests.  Accordingly, since exercising the right to an open hearing does not waive confidentiality provisions of FERPA and IDEA, the records were sealed to preserve their confidentiality.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hearing records remain confidential, despite parent’s election of an open hearing.

School personnel violated a student’s right to privacy by using a redacted psychiatric evaluation as a teaching tool for a literature class.

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

S.S. v. Mount Olive Board of Education, 56 IDELR 99 (D.N.J. 2011):  A U.S. District Court ruled for parents of a student with diabetes and anxiety as a result of the use of a redacted version of the student’s psychiatric evaluation by a school social worker and special education teacher as a teaching tool for a high school literature class.  The Court withheld a determination as to what harm, if any, the student suffered as a result of the unauthorized disclosure of his psychiatric evaluation.

A high school special education teacher wished to provide a sample psychiatric evaluation to his literature class as an instructional tool in relation to J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.”  The teacher requested a sample from the school’s social worker, who provided a psychiatric evaluation of the student, and attempted to redact personally identifiable information.  However, the students in the class were still able to identify the student due to the substantive information in the evaluation.

The parents sued, and the Court dismissed their claims under FERPA, HIPAA, IDEA and state student records laws.  Additionally, the Court dismissed the claims against the school district itself, and against various school personnel not specifically associated with the unauthorized disclosure of the student’s psychiatric evaluation.  However, the Court ruled in favor of the parents against the teacher and social worker under Section 1983, due to their violation of the student’s constitutional right to privacy.  The Court stated “no reasonable juror could find that” the teacher and social worker “did not breach a duty of care owed to” the student.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on School personnel violated a student’s right to privacy by using a redacted psychiatric evaluation as a teaching tool for a literature class.

Entries (RSS) | Comments (RSS).