OEA vs. ODE: Court issues permanent injunction prohibiting release of educator personal contact information.

By Julia A. Bauer and Julie C. Martin

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) may not release the personal email addresses, home phone numbers or residential addresses of the educators it licenses after a recent court ruling. A Franklin County Common Pleas judge issued a permanent injunction against the ODE at the end of March, prohibiting it from releasing the personal contact information of licensed educators. This decision further supports the notion that personal contact information is not public record, and therefore boards of education may withhold or redact that information. The State Board of Education voted 15-2 not to appeal the decision. Last fall, ODE received a public records request for all licensed educators’ contact information provided on licensure applications. The Ohio Education Association (OEA) sought and was granted a temporary restraining order with regard to the release of educators’ home phone numbers, personal email addresses and residential mailing addresses.