This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah lawmakers approved a bill aimed at restricting public access to school district records.
The proposal, sponsored by West Valley City Republican Rep. Craig Hall, would clarify that records governed by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA, are subject to that law's disclosure rules and not those of Utah's Government Records Access and Management Act, also known as GRAMA.
Hall sponsored the bill in response to a 2012 decision by the State Records Committee. In that decision, The Salt Lake Tribune was granted access to witness statements from an administrative investigation of an alleged inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student. Granite School District officials disagreed with the decision, arguing the statements should not be classified as law-enforcement records, which are excluded from FERPA protections.
Hall said he met with representatives of the Utah Media Coalition, which includes The Salt Lake Tribune, and was able to reach a compromise that satisfies privacy concerns while preserving the appellate rights of media and the public.