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School privacy laws changed
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A student who presents a clear and present danger to himself or others based on things he or she tells school officials may now be reported to the proper authorities.
The rule change was endorsed by the Warren County Board of Education and will untie the hands of officials like school psychologists and guidance counselors. Prior to the rule change, they could have faced liability issues if any revelation, made in confidence by a student, was discussed with another expert in the field or with law enforcement.
“This could avert a tragedy,” said School Board member Bill Zechman who moved the policy to be modified to give officials legal ability to report potentially dangerous issues that were formerly protected by the privacy policy.
Under the amended version, the official can only make limited use of the information he or she believes presents the clear and present danger.
First, they may discuss the matter with another school psychologist to get a second opinion. And second, they may go to proper authorities, such as law enforcement, to report the issue that presents the danger in their minds.
In addition to officials being able to use the private information under the extreme circumstances without permission from the student, the student may also be allowed to voluntarily waive his or her right to privacy and thereby permit the psychologist to share the information with the proper authorities.