In November 2013, IASB requested guidance from the federal U.S. Dept. of Education Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) concerning how to reconcile the federal law protecting student records – the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) – with the reporting requirement under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, P.A. 98-63 (CCA). The CCA requires a principal to report to the Ill. Dept. of State Police (ISP) “when a student is determined to pose a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others, within 24 hours of the determination.” Other agencies and associations that joined IASB included the Ill. State Board of Education, the Ill. Principals Association, and the Ill. Association of School Administrators. After 4.5 years, we have finally received a response from the FPCO!
The FPCO opined that the CCA clear and present danger reporting requirement (CPDR) does not conflict with FERPA because FERPA allows the CPDR to be disclosed in two ways:
- If the CPDR is created in such a way that it constitutes a law enforcement unit record, then it is exempt from FERPA and may be disclosed to the ISP along with any properly designated directory information about the student from which the parent or eligible student has not opted out; or
- FERPA’s health or safety emergency exception to the general consent requirement may apply to disclosures made to the ISP pursuant to the CCA as long as districts and appropriate school officials comply with the requirements of that exception under FERPA.
Please contact your board attorney for implementation advice concerning the CCA and to determine how the FPCO’s opinion regarding disclosure methods may apply to your school district.
To download the November 2013 IASB letter and relevant sections of the CCA, click here. To download the April 2018 FPCO response, click here. We wish to thank Kathryn Vander Broek, formerly at Hinshaw & Culbertson, for her assistance.
Requirements for concealed carry signage
School districts must conspicuously post a sign at the entrance of each school building, real property, and parking area indicating that the carrying of a concealed firearm on or into the property is prohibited. Posting signs at the entrance of each administrative building and other district-owned buildings in advisable. Each sign must comply with the design established by the Ill. Dept. of State Police (ISP). 20 Ill. Admin. Code §1231.150. See the template on the ISP website. The sign may be reproduced provided reproductions are no smaller than 4” x 6” in dimension.