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Salem City

HEAV’s School Board Monitor Team reported a privacy concern when the initials of two students were posted publicly on a school board agenda item relating to a family’s religious exemption. The HEAV legislative team also found that district staff was receiving and reviewing RE documentation to make a “…recommendation that student (referenced by initials) be approved for release from compulsory attendance…”

The law has assigned to the school board the responsibility of receiving and processing religious exemptions, not staff. HEAV believes these personal, private legal documents are of the caliber that should be treated with the highest degree of confidentiality and care, and only school board members should have access to these documents within a closed session.

HEAV promptly contacted the school board to address these concerns. We are glad to report we received a response the very next day from both the school board chair and superintendent to thank us for our correspondence and to assure us of a prompt and thorough correction. The district made immediate corrections and later followed up to share and confirm their new process with HEAV.

HEAV commends Salem’s prompt response, follow-through, and correction. We consider Salem’s response an excellent administrative example for all districts across the Commonwealth.

We’d love to hear from you! If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us at 804-278-9200 or via our contact form.

Patricia Beahr
Assistant Director of Government Affairs

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