Amy Kosanovich Dickerson and Kendra Yoch of Franczek Radelet P.C. write:
The Firearm Concealed Carry Act (CCA) went into effect in 2013. One of its provisions requires a principal or designee to make a report to the Illinois Department of State Police (ISP) “when a student is determined to pose a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others.” The purpose of the provision is to prevent individuals from obtaining a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card if they pose a such a danger. When the law was enacted, administrators questioned whether reporting this information to the ISP may conflict with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA). ISP subsequently addressed this issue in its implementing regulations, adopted in December 2013, by appearing to acknowledge that such a report may be made pursuant to the “health and safety” exception under FERPA, stating that “clear and present danger reporting shall be made consistent with [FERPA] to assist the Department with protecting the health and safety of the public by denying persons who present a clear and present danger from having lawful access to weapons.” In response to a November 2013 inquiry sent by the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Department of Education recently confirmed that schools can make such reports without violating FERPA.
According to the Department of Education’s opinion, one way that a school can make the required report to the ISP and comply with FERPA is if the report is a law enforcement unit record.
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