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Listen Up! Changes to Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Law

Since 2014, Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Law, 18 Pa. C.S. § 5704, has included provisions allowing a school board to adopt a policy for audio interception to occur in school buses and vehicles for disciplinary and/or security purposes.  As allowed in the initial law, once the policy was adopted, the district had to:

  1. Send a letter to students, annually, to alert them of the policy; and
  2. Post a clearly visible notice in each school bus and vehicle with audio-recording  equipment, alerting them that students might be audiotaped.

In 2016, changes to the wiretap law affect the type of notice given to students about audio-recording on school buses and vehicles.

  1. Instead of sending a letter out to students on an annual basis, notice of the policy is to  be given by including the policy in the student handbook as well as in any other place  where  district policies and procedures are posted; and
  2. Notice of the policy must also be placed on the district’s website.

What remains the same, and what is the essence of this law, is that the district must first adopt a policy allowing for the use of audio-recording on school buses.  Also remaining intact is the requirement that notice of the policy be placed in a clearly visible spot on each and every school bus and/or vehicle that is equipped with audio-recording equipment.

If you are interested in drafting a policy to allow for audio-recording equipment on school buses and vehicles, or if you would like to update your current audio-recording equipment policy to align with the changes to Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Law, please contact Stock and Leader’s School Law Group for assistance.

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