Using school email systems for personal email
Are teacher e-mails sent through the school district’s email system considered public records?
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin recently held they were not records under Wisconsin’s Public Record Law, and therefore that they were not subject to disclosure. The court found that materials are public records only if they have a connection with a governmental function. Under certain situations, such as when a disciplinary investigation is occurring, personal e-mails would be subject to disclosure, but this was not the case here.
Though not applicable in Illinois, the Freedom of Information Act 5 ILCS 140/ has the same connection to a governmental function that is discussed in this opinion. School officials and employees should take note of this case and not use school email systems for personal e-mails or information to avoid future conflict. For more information, please see the Illinois Attorney General website on OMA and FOIA.
Nika Grabavoy, Extern, Valparaiso University School of Law