Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1952 No. 260 - Mar 17 1952
Attorney General Smith Troy


 Directors have authority either to permit or deny dissemination of names and addresses of students to business colleges.

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                  March 17, 1952 

Honorable Carlton I. Sears
Senator, Twenty-Second District
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 260

 Dear Senator:

             You have requested an opinion of this office regarding "the dissemination of public high school graduating students' names and addresses" to private business colleges.

             Our conclusion is that this matter is within the discretion of the directors of the school districts.


             In considering your question, we must first determine whether or not the records containing the names of the graduating school constitute public records.  In the case ofValentine v. Independent School District, 187 Ia. 55 [[187 Iowa 55]], 174 N.W. 334, scholarship records of pupils in public schools were said to be public records.  See also 6 A.L.R. 1525, and 45 Am.Jur. (Records) section 3.  It follows then that the roster of students' names would also be part of the public records and available for examination.  Should, however, the directors conclude that the students might be subjected to a barrage of propaganda, or if the examination of the records unduly inconveniences the school officials, then the directors are within their authority if they refuse to permit such practice.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            The Boards of Directors have broad powers in the protection of the best interests of the students, and this power includes the right to make rules and regulations for their welfare.  Rem. Rev. Stat. § 4781 reads as follows:

             "Any board of directors shall have power to make such by-laws for their government, and the government of the common schools under their charge, as they deem expedient, not inconsistent with provisions of this act, or the instructions of the superintendent of public instruction or the state board of education."

             Rem. Rev. Stat. § 4805 in part reads as follows:

             "Every board of directors of a school district of the first class shall, in addition to the general powers enumerated in Chapter 20 (18) of this title have the power:  * * *

             "Fourth:  To adopt and enforce such rules and regulations as may be deemed essential to the well-being of the schools, * * *"

             We believe that the directors have ample authority either to permit or deny such examination.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General