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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 17, 2020 01:54 PM
From: Representative Gerald J. Mullery and Rep. Michael H. Schlossberg
To: All House members
Subject: Protecting Students’ Privacy
In the age of advancing technology and easy access to the internet, we must be more vigilant than ever to ensure the privacy rights and overall safety of our children.  
Currently, Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law (RTKL) mandates access of public records, defining “public records” to include school surveillance videos. Due to the lack of clarification in our RTKL and privacy rights, cases, such as the recent Supreme Court Case, Easton Area School District v. Miller, the Court cited significant concerns over the absence of protection for school children. 
The Supreme Court opinion noted that the ramifications are dangerous when school surveillance becomes subject to public disclosure without a parent’s consent, “such a disclosure could reveal the identity of minor-aged students; their clothing, behaviors, or disabilities; the specific bus they take; and the geographical location where they exit the bus.” 
Despite the blatant disregard to student safety, the Court added that this public disclosure of student imagery additionally implicates a student’s right to privacy. The Supreme Court has called upon us as legislators to fix this overlook in our law and urged us as the General Assembly to, “undertake a review of the RTKL’s procedural provisions…to ensure the protection of the constitutional information privacy rights of third parties---in particular, those rights of public school students---when they are implicated by right to know requests.”
Please join me to ensure our students’ safety remains a priority across Pennsylvania.

Introduced as HB2754