(Beaver Dam) A bill introduced this session by State Representative Mark Born would make some student information more readily available to the public. Current law allows for the release of what is called “directory data,” that includes student’s names, addresses and phone numbers, among other things. Born’s bill would also make the name of a parent or legal guardian public record.
While the information may be requested by – for example – a sports broadcaster seeking stats on student athlete it is more likely that law enforcement would need the name. Currently, the name of that parent could only be given to police in a life-or-death situation. Born says there are circumstances where that information should be easier to obtain.
The issue came to light through meetings of task force established by Dodge County Emergency Management consisting of teachers and police officer. The Beaver Dam Republican told us recently on WBEV’s Community Comment that there was a situation where a detective and a counselor wanted to make contact with a student about a tragic situation that was not life-or-death. The officer wanted to confirm they were talking to the right student, which was technically a violation of statute.
Beaver Dam Superintendent Mark Distefano says the change would be welcomed by school officials. DiStefano says the intent is to make sure there are no roadblocks or slow-downs in the event of a crisis or emergency that would negatively impact law enforcements ability to respond and bring resolution to a situation.
Under current law, parents are given a form to fill out at the beginning of a school year which gives them the option to opt out of any information being shared. The bill would not affect that option and would only add parent or guardian names to the directory data.