Gloucester School Records: Va. Code Ann. §22.1-287 – a Lawyer’s Discovery

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On February 23, 2009, Gloucester Circuit Court ruled that a Plaintiff brain injury victim was entitled to all school records concerning his attack, despite Gloucester High School keeping them solely in the files of his attacker, another student named Co-Defendant with its Assistant Principal. The case is Gregory Joseph Gagnon, et al. v. Travis Burns, et al., No. CL08-572.

Assistant Principal Burns and the Gloucester County School Board had sought to keep the investigative records secret, claiming Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-287 imbued them with “privilege”. However, §22.1-287 only subjects such records to certain limitations (versus absolute privilege), and specifically excepts involved students, their parents, and judicial discovery.

Plaintiff brain injury victim successfully relied on Bunch v. Artz, 71 Va. Cir. 358 (Portsmouth Aug. 15, 2006), the leading opinion applying §22.1-287. In Bunch, school pupil records were subject to the ordinary rules of discovery and ordered produced.