The Board recognizes that school staff must exercise a delicate balance regarding the treatment of information that is revealed in confidence. A staff member may, in his/her professional judgment, treat information received from a student as confidential while at other times decide to disclose what was learned to the school administration, law enforcement officers (including child protective services), county health department, other staff members or the student's parent(s)/guardian(s). As outlined in the following guidelines, a staff member is obligated to disclose certain types of information which is learned to the school administration, law enforcement officers (including child protective services), the county health department, other staff members or the student's parents/guardians. The staff member should advise the student regarding the limitations and restrictions regarding confidentiality. The student should be encouraged to reveal confidences to his/her parent(s)/guardian(s). If the staff member intends to disclose the confidence, the student should be informed prior to such action.
The following guidelines are established to assist staff members in making appropriate decisions regarding confidential information and/or communications:
A. Information contained in the student's cumulative record folder is confidential and is only accessible through the custodian of student records. Information secured through the authorization of the records custodian shall remain confidential and shall be used only for the purpose that its access was granted.
B. While certain professionals may have a legal confidential relationship as in attorney/client communications, school staff members, including counselors, (except licensed psychologists) do not possess confidentiality.
C. A staff member is expected to reveal information given by a student when there is a reasonable likelihood that a crime has or will be committed. (e.g., child abuse, sale of drugs, suicidal ideation).
D. A staff member shall exercise professional judgment regarding the sharing of student disclosed information when there is reasonable likelihood that the student's general welfare may be endangered. Any other individual, it may disclose otherwise confidential student information to appropriate parties. As allowed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
E. A staff member is encouraged to assist the student by offering suggestions regarding the availability of community services to assist a student in dealing with personal matters (e.g., substance abuse, mental illness, sexually-transmitted diseases, pregnancy.) The staff member should encourage the student to discuss such matters with his/her parent(s)/guardian(s). Staff members are encouraged to discuss problems of this nature with the school principal or designee prior to making contact with others.
F. The release of information regarding staff members is governed by Policy 5260 (Personnel Records) and Policy 4340 (public Access to District Records).
Drug and Alcohol Use/Abuse Program - Policy 2121
Guidance and Counseling - Policy 2140
Student Records - Policy 3231
Public Access to District Records - Policy 4040
Personnel Records - Policy 5260
Reports — Duty and authority to make — Duty of receiving agency - RCW 26.44.030(12)
Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Board: May, 1983
Revised by the Board: 11.03, 07.12