NC School District Is Reviewing Release Of Information Policies
The Natrona County School District is reviewing their policies on releasing information in the aftermath of an alleged waterboarding incident at Kelly Walsh High School.
There was a public outcry, including comments on social media and at a School Board meeting, with parents and others wanting to know why officials couldn't release more information about the incident, those involved, and the eventual outcome, which the District initially called "extreme hazing."
NCSD Public Relations Officer Tanya Southerland told K2 Radio News those comments were heard. "I will say, based on a lot of stakeholder feedback, stakeholders would be parents, students, and our media partners and the community in general, we are currently reviewing some of our policies and are just looking deeper into ways where we can be more transparent while still abiding by those federal obligations for student privacy," said Southerland.
One of the main concerns, she said, was abiding by the federal privacy law known as FERPA, or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
"The District has to follow FERPA which is just protecting student privacy in incidents that students' information can be released. In any incident, when it's investigated we have to be very careful of what specific information is released in order to not identify a specific student or students."
Southerland said there is an internal review of whether any other specifics that don't identify the students or interfere with the federal laws can and should be released.
"We are currently reviewing, my team is reviewing public communication laws in consult with legal counsel and just reviewing best practices with districts around the country," Southerland said. "While student privacy is incredibly important to us and it's a federal requirement that we have that we have to follow these obligations in order to protect student privacy, we are looking at ways in which we can be more communicative with our public."