Illinois Seeks to Protect Student Privacy
The Illinois legislature hopes to put parent’s mind at ease when it comes to their children’s digital privacy, while at the same time protecting parental rights with new changes to Illinois family law and criminal law.
The Privacy in the School Setting Act prevents any public elementary or secondary school district, and any higher learning institution from requiring or requesting that a student, prospective student, or parent/guardian turn over their social network password. To protect student privacy, the law also bans schools from accessing student email accounts without a parent or guardian’s permission. The law does provide an exception for cases when the school has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has violated school disciplinary rules or policies and has posted evidence of the violation on social media.
Schools must provide students and their parents or guardians with a statement that the school may request the student’s password or account information if the school suspects that disciplinary policy has been violated. The notice must be set forth in the school’s policy book, handbook, disciplinary code, or communicated by similar means. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2014.
At the same time, a second law, HB3038, protects parents from eavesdropping lawsuits filed by their children. The law states that a minor may not bring a civil claim, cause of action, or other court action against their parent, stepparent, guardian, or grandparents for eavesdropping when the guardian exercises their rights to monitor or control minor activities on cell phones or social media.
If you are concerned about these new changes in the law, or if you have other questions about parental rights or responsibilities under Illinois law, we can help. Contact the qualified and caring professional attorneys at the law offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today. We can answer any questions you might have, and ensure that your parental rights are protected.