Rule 2471 - Records Retention

Definition

A record is defined for the purposes of these rules as any documentary material created or received by the school system or any employee in connection with the transaction of school system business. A record includes any form of documentary material, including but not limited to paper documents, electronic documents (including e-mails), microfilm, drawings, maps, pictures, and any other documentary material in any format in which business information is created or maintained.

A record shall not include copies of original documents maintained elsewhere by the school system, whether or not the copy is maintained in the same format. For example, if a document is maintained in a hard copy, it does not need to be retained electronically as well. If an employee creates and distributes a document to another employee or other employees, it will be the primary responsibility of the sender to maintain an original copy under these rules, or otherwise ensure compliance with these rules.

A record shall not include drafts of final documents, unless the draft is required to be retained for future business or for historic purposes. A record shall not include personal notes made by an employee to refresh the employee’s recollection, as long as the notes are not shared with other employees and/or used for the conduct of school system business.

A record shall not include such documentary materials created or received by the school system that are of temporary value, are not required to be continually maintained for the conduct of current or future school system business, and are not required for historical reference. This would include, for example, invitations or announcements, phone messages, advertisements, commercial catalogues, books, general periodicals or other publications (such as newspapers or magazines) published outside of the school system, out-of-date information, or other general correspondence that is typically not kept beyond its usefulness in the normal course of business.

Creation

Employees shall create any document needed in the normal course of business. Any document created by an employee in any format (including e-mails) in the normal course of business shall be presumed by the employee to be a record of school system business unless otherwise excluded by these rules.

Maintenance and Storage

Charles County Public Schools records shall be maintained and stored in such a manner as to be accessible by those school system employees who have the authority and the need to access them. No record shall be considered private or controlled by only one employee. All records should be accessible by more than one employee. Under no circumstances shall an employee be authorized to maintain school system records off school system grounds unless expressly granted permission by the employee’s supervisor, or unless the maintenance is both temporary and necessary for the conduct of school system business.

Public Requests for Information

Charles County Public Schools shall comply with the Maryland Public Information Act. The school system shall not be responsible for creating documents in response to a request. All public requests for documents made to any school system employee shall be forwarded to the Superintendent or designee, except under the following circumstances:

  1. The request was made for information that was created or maintained with the intention to share it with the general public, such as school system publications, calendars, pamphlets, forms, handbooks, etc., in which case any school system employee may provide the information;

  2. The request was made for information readily available and generally distributed in the normal course of business by a school, center, department, or division, as long as the request is not for legally confidential information and is not overly time-consuming or costly to provide, in which case the request shall be forwarded to a supervisor or designee in that school, center, department, or division;

  3. The request was made by an individual employee or authorized designee for information contained in the employee’s personnel file, in which case the request shall be forwarded to the employee’s immediate supervisor or the Division of Human Resources;

  4. The request was made by a student or the student’s parent or guardian or authorized designee for information contained in the student’s educational record maintained by the school system, in which case the request shall be forwarded to the school principal or designee, or the Director of Student Services or designee;

  5. The request was made by subpoena or court order, in which case the request shall be forwarded to the intended recipient of the subpoena or court order.
    The employee to whom the request was forwarded shall be responsible for ensuring that a legal and timely response is given.


Confidentiality

Employees shall treat all school system records as confidential and shall not reveal them unless:

  1. The record is shared with other school system employees who have a need to know the information contained therein;

  2. The record was created or maintained with the intention to share it with the general public;

  3. The record was created or maintained with the intention to share it with a specific person or persons who are not employed by the school system, in which case the record may be shared with the intended recipient(s);

  4. The record must be revealed by law, court order, or subpoena, as determined by the Superintendent or designee;

  5. The record must be revealed through litigation or other legal complaint process, as determined by the Superintendent or designee;

  6. The record must be revealed as part of an internal or external audit, as determined by the Superintendent or designee.


Retention Schedule

The Superintendent shall adopt a records retention schedule listing various types of records maintained by the school system. For each type of record, the schedule shall include the minimum retention period. The records retention schedule shall be considered a part of these rules.

For records not expressly listed in the schedule, the minimum retention period shall be four years, or until all audit requirements are met, whichever is later.

The retention schedule shall be followed in all cases, unless a specific record is subject to a litigation hold as described below, or unless the record has been subpoenaed, or unless the record is otherwise specifically determined by a school system employee with authority over the record to be necessary for retention beyond the required retention period.


Litigation Hold

If retention of a record is not required, or disposal of the record is authorized under these rules, the employee shall not dispose of the record if the employee has reason to believe that the record may be subject to active or probable litigation. In such a case, the employee shall notify the Superintendent or designee.

The Superintendent or designee shall determine whether any record is required to be maintained beyond the required record retention period due to litigation. All such records shall be maintained in their original form, regardless of any other provisions in law, policy, regulation, or rule. The Superintendent or designee shall inform in writing all employees who have records subject to litigation that there shall be a litigation hold on the record until the employee is notified otherwise in writing by the Superintendent or designee.

Records Disposal

For student records and personnel records, the disposal of the record shall be in compliance with applicable state law and regulations, and the record may only be disposed of in a manner specifically approved by the Superintendent or designee. All other records shall be disposed of in such a manner as to protect any legally confidential information that may be included in the record, or other information which the employee deems necessary not to make public for school system purposes.

E-mails that are deleted by the individual employee recipient or sender from his or her school system computer shall not be retained by the school system’s computer network in any format beyond the time the e-mail is deleted.

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