Missing Counselling Notes

There is a very concerning trend that is happening around this province in our school districts, and that is related to disappearing counselling notes and other sensitive student information.

We have case law from the Supreme Court of BC with expectations and instructions for the school boards on what they should be doing regarding counselling notes, but schools districts do not have policy as they should around this.

https://www.oipc.bc.ca/orders/1226

79 (1) Subject to the orders of the minister, a board must

(a) establish written procedures regarding the
storage, retrieval and appropriate use of student records, and

(b) ensure confidentiality of the information
contained in the student records and ensure
privacy for students and their families.

If you are a parent who has had issues regarding this, or are concerned about this, I offer you a standard letter to send to your school board’s trustees and please CC: the Secretary-Treasurer and consider including the Ministry of Education in your email.  Feel free to write your own with your own individual issues, however, for those who just don’t have the spoons at the moment but are still very concerned, I offer you a letter below. Please attach the case in the link above to your email. The email addresses you will need you can find on your school districts website.

The Ministry of Education needs to have their legislation match current laws. Please email the Ministry of Education or your MLA’s to express your feelings on this matter.

Dear Trustees,

It has come to our attention a concerning trend in missing counselling notes. Confidential student information has gone missing in many school districts and this is an administrative crack in the system that is a disadvantage to students and their parents for many reasons.

We would like to bring to your attention case law that has already been established by the Supreme Court of Canada that states counselling notes are protected under the School Act as property of the school district and that they should be kept locked and treated as school records. In this decision it also states that school boards should develop policy around the storage of counselling notes.

We are requesting that you review your own school policy around school records and confirm if counselling notes have been added to this policy and if not, to implement new policy connected to the legal standards established by the Supreme Court. Please see the attached case law for your reference.

Kind Regards,

Parents SD##