Case Alert – Supreme Court Rules in Favor of M&W Clients, Affirms Appellate Division Decision Restricting Access to Student Records
On July 17, 2019 the New Jersey Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in L.R. v. Camden City Public School District, affirming the Appellate Division’s determination that a “student record” under New Jersey law retains protected status and may not be rendered a public record through redaction of personally identifiable information. This ruling effectively prevents a third party from obtaining student records without demonstrating to a Superior Court Judge that the requestor is a “bona fide researcher” or otherwise has a compelling need for the records that outweighs the privacy interests of the students. It also shields school boards from awards of attorney fees under OPRA (the Open Public Records Act) to parties who succeed in their efforts to obtain student records.