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The answer to this question would depend on which state you live in to what extent available statutes govern your school (private schools probably have different requirements than public schools). In Wisconsin, the answer is.... maybe. The reason is that our statutes address the content of records as opposed to the medium. So no law exists that says we have to archive any particular medium (like paper, email, cardboard, matchbook covers, bubble gum wrappers, ...). However, our statutes govern the retention of specific kinds of content (which might appear on email, paper, cardboard, ...). If a message would be of concern to the public and would be related to operating the school as a governmental body, it needs to be retained. Our statutes do exclude communication unrelated to one's office ("Can you bring home milk tonight?") and also true draft documents. Retention lengths are established by the state, and boards may adopt the state schedule or use an alternative one through policy. Most records must be maintained for 7 years. Ironically, we have pupil records laws (a discussion of pupil behavior would be considered a pupil record) which have a contradictory retention lifespan - no more than 1 year after the child exits the school. Bring all of that together and in terms of retention....... --If you use an appliance, you'll probably over retain and possibly break one statute (pupil records) while complying with another (open records). --An appliance will also likely have to be configured to include all staff as anyone might the be the person who generates content that would be of general interest to the public about the running of the school. --It is likely that you would also retain emails which might be discovered in an unrelated search would could increase the school's chance for liability in some other manner. --If you rely on people to judge what to retain, it is probable that it will have some degree of ineffectiveness. Other states may be more definitive on retention in terms of types of messages, but not Wisconsin. Joel VerDuin Director of Technology and Media Services Wausau School District, WI --- Edtech Archives, posting guidelines and other information are at: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb Please include your name, email address, and school or professional affiliation in each posting. To unsubscribe send the following command to: LISTSERV@H-NET.MSU.EDU SIGNOFF EDTECH