Disclosure to Researchers

If information is requested for research purposes, the board of education (board) should determine whether or not the information can be provided without identification of individuals. Only if this would not provide the required data should the option to release personal information be considered. The researcher making the request should be asked to clearly identify in writing the reasons why personal data is required.

Pursuant to section 28(2)(k) of LAFOIP personal information for research or statistical purposes can be released if:

  • it is not contrary to the public interest;
  • there is no other reasonable way to provide the information; and/or
  • the board obtains a written agreement from the third party that the third party will protect the privacy of the information.

This is a discretionary decision on the part of the board and is something that should be carefully considered. The reputation of the researcher, the nature of the research, any direct benefits to the board, and the amount and type of information being shared are part of this consideration.

Some researchers may provide their own draft agreements for the sharing of information. The main points to look for in such agreements are:

  • a clear statement of the nature of the project and the purposes for which the data will be used;
  • agreement to handle the information securely and solely for the purposes of the project;
  • agreement to dispose of the information securely when no longer required;
  • the benefit to the board (i.e. receiving a copy of the research report); and/or
  • nothing that gives any ownership or future control of the personal information to the researcher or any third party.