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February 29, 2024

Schools Prohibited from Requiring Student Passwords to Social Media –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 12, 2015

Springfield, IL. (ECWd) –
Received this tip in an email blast on a recent change to the “Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act” from the legal firm of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP…
Take note Effingham School District, and all the others that decided to take advantage of students last year… additionally, I would suggest all parents and students change their passwords to make sure the schools do not maintain access they may already have.

Access to Student Social Media Accounts Curtailed

Recent amendments to the Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act restrict access by schools to student social media accounts. Initially the Act gave schools the right to request or require a student to provide social media account passwords or other related account information when the school had reasonable cause to believe the account contained evidence of a disciplinary violation. Schools were required to provide notice to parents of this right. Our article regarding the then-new law can be found here.
The recent amendments to the Act restrict this right. Public Act 99-0460, which became effective on August 25, 2015, prohibits schools from requesting or requiring students to provide passwords or other account information for their social media accounts in any circumstance. Now, schools only may require a student “to cooperate in an investigation” if there is specific information about activity on the student’s social media account that violates a school disciplinary rule or policy. As part of the school’s investigation, a student may be required to “share the content that is reported in order to make a factual determination,” but the school no longer can request or require disclosure of passwords. Continue reading…


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  • Mikos
    Posted at 19:22h, 12 September

    It would be interesting to FOIA various schools around the state as a research project and see which ones have policies demanding that students give them their passwords. FOIA the social media policies or student handbooks or forms they make students complete where they would have to write down their passwords (the blank form that the school hands out for this purpose).

    • blount
      Posted at 10:17h, 13 September

      This whole idea of monitoring social media of students is crazy. First changing a password is simple. Having to hire personnel to track students passwords for face book, instagram, etc. is a waste of tax dollars. Kids are smart enough to go out and set up another account.
      But what I wonder is why a district would even want to become the cyber hall monitor. If a kid makes a threat against another kid, it creates the the expectation that a district is monitoring these messages and can put a stop to it. Would a district become liable if someone gets hurt and didn’t stop it from happening? People sue over trivial matters.
      School districts should step away from this one.