As the premier tool of the information age, technology is transforming how we learn, work, play, and communicate. It's also changing the nature of public-record requests, setting up potential legal challenges that few schools and districts are equipped to handle.

In recent months, for example, news outlets in Charlotte, N.C., and around the nation have asked for the security tapes from school buses and high school surveillance cameras, electronic copies of databases containing confidential student records, administrators' and school board members' eMail messages, and more.

In one state, news outlets


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