Kent City Community Schools
Administrative Guidelines
 

8325 - RECEIPT OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS

Service of Process on the Board of Education

In suits against the Board, only the Board President or Superintendent accepts service on behalf of the Board.

Service of Legal Documents on Board Employees

If a Board employee is served with legal documents (1) directing him/her to testify at a deposition or hearing related to issues that fall within his/her employment responsibilities, or (2) requesting the District produce certain public records, student education records, or other documents or electronically stored information maintained by the Board, the employee is directed to follow the following procedures.

Questions shall be directed to the Superintendent.

Policy 8325 requires an employee served with legal documents – in his/her official capacity as a Board employee – to provide copies of the documents to his/her Principal or site administrator immediately.

Subpoenas

The Board prefers personal service by a process server. The District does not accept faxed subpoenas, but will accept service by mail.

If the subpoena was faxed, return the subpoena to the sending party accompanied by Response to a Faxed Subpoena.

Questions about subpoenas should be directed to the Superintendent.

Determining Jurisdiction

In conjunction with the Board attorney, determine whether the subpoena or order is from a State or Federal court having jurisdiction in Michigan, or a hearing officer or other individual or entity authorized to issue subpoenas or orders in Michigan.

If it is determined that the subpoena or court order is not from a court, hearing officer, or other individual or entity having jurisdiction in Michigan, the Board will not comply with it. The decision not to comply with a subpoena or court order shall not be made until after the employee consults with the Superintendent. The employee shall reply using Letter Regarding Lack of Jurisdiction.

If the subpoena or court order is proper, the employee should date-stamp and initial it.

Complying with the Subpoena or Order

Subpoenas:

Whether the Board responds to a subpoena depends on numerous legal and factual issues. As a result, when the District receives a subpoena, forward it promptly to Board counsel for review. Counsel will determine whether the requested documents and/or information will be released or withheld. For example, counsel may withhold student records, privileged information, or other confidential documents.

If Board counsel determines that the Board should respond to a subpoena seeking student records and/or personally-identifiable student information, take the following steps:

 

A.

Locate the records.

   
 

B.

Check the subpoena's due date. Because it requests confidential information, the Board will need to notify the student's parents fourteen (14) days in advance of the due date to give them a chance to object to the court. If the District doesn't have enough time, the employee should contact the requesting attorney, ask for an extension, and document consent in writing. If the attorney refuses to grant an extension, contact Board counsel.

   
 

C.

Notify parents fourteen (14) days in advance of production of the records. Send request to the student's last known address, with a copy of the subpoena and the information requested. Consider calling the parent or eligible student in addition to sending the form. Retain a copy of the form in the student's cumulative folder, and document any attempts to reach the parents/eligible student.

     
 

D.

Parent Response.  If a parent/eligible student objects and the court quashes the subpoena, the court will let you know. If the court does not notify the Board within fourteen (14) days from the date the subpoena is received, the Board should comply with the subpoena. If the parents/eligible student contact the Board within that period, the employee should explain that they must contact their attorney or the court to file an objection. It is critical to recognize that the parents, eligible student, or their attorney cannot relieve the Board or its employees from the obligation to respond to a subpoena. Only the court or the requesting attorney may do so and that release must be received in writing.

   
 

E.

Compliance. Absent a court directive to the contrary, allow fourteen (14) days to elapse, and then comply with the subpoena by providing the requested records. Supply copies of only those documents requested. If requested to certify the authenticity of the documents, do not use a form provided with the subpoena. Use the Certificate of Authenticity form.

If a subpoena requests public records (as defined in M.C.L. 15.232 see Board Policy 8310), the District may respond without seeking the Board attorney’s advice. After receiving such a subpoena, the employee should locate and review the records, determine whether they contain any confidential or privileged content, redact such confidential or privileged content (if applicable), and provide copies of the records (including any necessary redactions) to the requesting party. The Board attorney should be consulted if there are any questions concerning whether a requested document is a public record or contains confidential or privileged content. Retain a copy of the subpoena and records disclosed. As explained below, a (Principal, Superintendent, Board attorney, or staff attorney) must review the records before an employee releases them.

Court Orders:

When a court orders the District to provide particular records or information, take the following steps:

 

A.

Provide a copy of the order to the Superintendent and Principal.

   
 

B.

If needed, consult with the Board attorney to determine whether the order requires legal action.

   
 

C.

Locate and review the responsive records. In consultation with the Board attorney, redact confidential and/or privileged content from the documents as may be appropriate.

   
 

D.

Check the order’s due date. Verify you have sufficient time to respond. If the order requires the production of confidential student personally identifiable information, the Board will need to notify the student's parents fourteen (14) days in advance of the due date to give them a chance to object to the court. If the District doesn't have enough time to respond, contact the requesting attorney, ask for an extension, and document consent in writing. If the attorney refuses to grant an extension, contact the Board attorney. If the order requires the production of public records or other information that is not confidential and/or privileged, the District should produce the documents requested by the order, or make the Board employee available for attendance at the deposition or hearing.

     
 

E.

Notify parents fourteen (14) days in advance of complying with the order. Send request to the student's last known address, with a copy of the order and the information requested. Consider calling the parent or eligible student in addition to sending the form. Retain a copy of the form in the student's cumulative folder, and document any attempts to reach the parents/eligible student.

   
 

F.

Parent Response. If a parent or eligible student objects and the court rescinds its order, the court will notify the Board. If the court does not notify the Board within fourteen (14) days from the date the order is received, the Board should comply with the order. If the parents/eligible student contact the District, the employee should explain that they must contact their attorney or the court to file an objection. It is critical to recognize that the parents, eligible student, or their attorney cannot relieve anyone from the obligation to respond to a court order. Only the court may do so and that release must be received in writing.

   
 

G.

Compliance. Absent a court directive to the contrary, allow fourteen (14) days to elapse, and then comply with the order by providing the requested records. Supply copies of only those documents requested. If requested to certify the authenticity of the documents, use the Certificate of Authenticity form.

If you are unable to locate the requested records/information, call Superintendent for assistance.

The Principal or site administrator should release only the records specifically identified in the subpoena or order. Before releasing the responsive records, the Principal or site administrator should review them with the Superintendent.

When information must be developed or summarized from the student's education records, the Principal or site administrator should submit a draft to the Superintendent for his/her review.

Before releasing that information the responding employee should file in the student’s cumulative folder: (1) a copy of all responsive documents; (2) a statement explaining why the documents were copied or prepared and the procedures followed before releasing them; (3) a copy of the subpoena or court order; (4) the Notification Letter; and (5) any correspondence with the requesting attorney. The employee should also note compliance with the subpoena or order on the Records Review Log (Form 8325 F6).

If doing so is in the Board’s best interest, the Principal or site administrator or Board attorney shall accompany the employee to the deposition or hearing.

Actions/Litigation Against the Board

In actions against the Board, it is not unusual for Board employees to be served with subpoenas and/or called as witnesses in their official capacities. Board legal counsel and the Superintendent will assist Board employees in these matters.

© Neola 2014