Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Are school officials allowed to search for and look at my personal (non-school-affiliated) social media accounts without my permission? A: Yes. Once you post something online it’s pretty much fair game for anyone (school officials, current or… Continue reading Can school officials search my personal social media accounts?
FERPA is a hassle. Schools constantly misuse it. Student journalists are consistently frustrated by it. So we spoke to four current and former student journalists about how they fought their school on FERPA misuse, and how you can too. Transcript: Joe Severino: When student journalists want to dig deeper into what’s happening behind the scenes… Continue reading When schools misused privacy laws, these student journalists fought back
If you’ve ever requested documents from your school through open records law and been denied or had substantial information redacted, there’s a good chance you’ve dealt with The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA. This privacy law is a common barrier for student journalists looking to dig deeper into what’s happening at their… Continue reading How student journalists fought FERPA, and how you can too
Q: Our school has a group of students on a “do not picture” list because parents did not approve photo releases. Does our publication have to cut out any photographs these students may appear in? A: Legally, the answer is probably no. The “do not picture list” applies to official publications of the school, and the… Continue reading Can we use photos of students on our school’s “do not picture” list?
Q: One of my photographers took a photo of some school employees smoking outside the school lunchroom. Can we publish the photo or would that be invading their privacy? A: School employees have much the same privacy rights as anyone else. There are certain places (bathrooms, private office, other private spaces not generally accessible to the public,… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we publish a photo of school employees smoking outside the lunchroom?
Q: A minor at your school has been arrested of a crime you think is important enough to report on because it involves the student council president and has implications to your school and community. You have obtained the police report. A parent of that student tells you over the phone that they intend to… Continue reading Ask SPLC: A student was arrested, can I use their name in my story?
On Feb. 19, House Bill 1 passed the Virginia Senate with a 38-2 vote. The bill will now go back to the House for approval of changes made by the Senate.
Government obfuscation in the face of requests for public records can be irritating. At times, maddening.
The ability of search engines to dredge up unflattering facts has provoked global debate over whether people should have a legal "right to be forgotten" -- that is, a right to demand that embarrassing personal details be taken offline.