Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed H.B. 64 in to law, prohibiting institutions of higher education from requiring that students or parents provide access to a student's social media account. The Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act does not protect applicants or prospective students of post-secondary schools. The law also includes an exemption if the school has reasonable cause to believe the social media account has evidence that the student violated a school rule or policy. Under the law, elementary or secondary schools may request social media passwords of students where the social media account might reasonably contain evidence of violation of a school rule or policy. The school must notify the student and parents or guardians that they may request or require that a student provide access to social media where cause exists. The notification must be included in a student handbook or communicated by similar means. The bill will be effective January 1, 2014.

TIP: Post-secondary schools in Illinois should be aware of this new Act, which is similar to the previous Illinois law curtailing an employer's ability to request social media log-in information from current or prospective employees (click here for briefing).