July 12, 1974
Member, House of Delegates
This will acknowledge receipt of your recent letter in which you
make the following inquiry:
"I have recently received several complaints concerning
apparent inability of teachers to have access to their individual
personnel files including so called 'confidential ' material. I
shall appreciate very much your opinion as to whether or not
teachers in fact have the right to view their own complete
Section 2.1-342 (a), Code of Virginia (1960), as amended, provides
that the official records of public bodies of the Commonwealth and
localities shall be subject to disclosure as follows: "Except as
otherwise specifically provided by law, all official records shall be
open to inspection and copying by any citizens of this State during
the regular office hours of the custodian of such records ..."
There can be no doubt that local school boards are public bodies
subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act
inasmuch as §2.1-341 (a) which specifies the types of public
bodies subject to the requirements of the Act, specifically includes
school boards as one of the public bodies contemplated.
Section 2.1-342(h) sets forth five categories of records which are
exeluded from the general disclosure requirements of $ 2.1-342(a).
More specifically §2.1-342(b) (3) provides:
"(b) the following records are excluded from the
provisions of this clapter: * * *
"(8) State income tax returns, medical and mental
records, scholastie records and personnel records, except that
such access shall not be denied to the person who is the
The provisions of the foregoing statute clearly indicate the
intent of the General Assembly to ensure that all personnel records
pertaining to a particular employee of a public body, whatever their
nature, be available to that employee for review and copying.
In view of the foregoing, I am of the opinion that a teacher
employed with a local public school board of the Commonwealth has the
right to review and copy any personnel record prepared or maintained
by the school board so long as that personnel record relates
specifically to the particular teacher seeking review thereof.