I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Teachers: Your Work Email Is a Public Record

Teachers, I thank you for reading this blog. And I am always happy to hear from you. But remember:

Emails from your work email account are public records. Which is why I don't respond to emails sent from school district addresses.

And any email traffic over a district network can be monitored - even if it is your private email account.

Just saying...

Are you sure you want to send that from your district email?


deciminyan said...

JJ - I believe that courts have ruled that even email in your private account, if they discuss government business, are subject to OPRA. This is a result of some municipal officials trying to circumvent OPRA by using Google or similar accounts.

Rita McClellan said...

JJ - What deciminyan said is correct. In Opinion 2005-127, the Government Records Council (GRC) ruled that all email accounts were an accessible public record even personal ones used in the course of business. In the decision, the custodian had claimed that his e-mails were not government records because they were not maintained in his government files. The GRC concluded that the use of his personal e-mail account to conduct municipal business makes those e-mails government records under OPRA. A government record, therefore, is not defined by the source or location of its origin (i.e., private e-mail account vs. public e-mail account).

Stu said...

Thanks for the great reminder, Duke. I'm passing this along to my colleagues.

Many teachers are fearful of speaking out...however they might feel safe using email. Your comments remind us that caution is advised.

Tiffany Streat said...

Funny this subject has come up!

As Commissioner Cerf had used and may still be using several email accounts (like gmail) to conduct official state education business.

Rita (above) is correct. It doesn't matter if an account is personal or not. If you are conducting official business, that account is OPRA-able.