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Balancing the Public Relations and Legal Perspectives

MOSPRA/MASA Presentation
by

Nicole Kirby

on 20 March 2014

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Transcript of Balancing the Public Relations and Legal Perspectives

Legal
PR
Balancing the PR and Legal Perspectives
Nicole Kirby, APR
Park Hill School District

Duane Martin
Missouri EdCounsel
The Situation:
A reporter doing a story about the teacher of the year wants to know how much the teacher makes, including benefits and riders.


Responding to Requests:

Three business days from receipt by the custodian.
If the records are closed, you still respond.
Not required to create a responsive record.
Can charge a research and copying fee.
Legal
Respond quickly and fully.
Discuss the angle of the story with the reporter.
Provide more information than requested to help clarify.
Public Relations
Legal
The Sunshine Law states several reasons records can be closed to the public. (See §610.021, RSMo.)
Student records, protected by FERPA, are generally closed to the public.
Personally identifiable information about the student cannot, as a rule, be released without parental consent.
General information about the Code of Conduct or Discipline Policy and Process may be provided to the public.
Public Relations
Be the first to tell the story.
Your community expects answers from you.
Explain policies and procedures.
Work with police.
Explain the limitations of FERPA.
The Situation:
The Situation:
Legal

“Directory Information” is information contained in an education record which is not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. It includes, but is not limited to, name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height for athletics, dates of attendances, degrees and awards received, and most recent educational institution attended.
Public Relations
Our citizen's committees cannot use this either.
We make sure we monitor opt-out lists.
On a Principals Day post on the district Facebook page, someone comments that one of the principals is a "$%#@ing *&%$."
The Situation:
Legal
First Amendment Considerations apply
Any action taken must be "content neutral"
That is, the government may not regulate "speech" (even technology-based "speech") simply because of the message conveyed.
Action may be based, instead, on the likely impact of the "speech" on the educational environment.
Public Relations
Defamatory or obscene feedback can be deleted.
Social media are still valuable.
Your supporters will defend you.
One of the candidates for the school board asked for parent mailing addresses and email addresses.
A student brings a loaded handgun to school. Another student reports it. Nobody is hurt.
Full transcript