Patrick Stieve
Ashley Collins
Meredith Hovet v. Hebron Public School District and Madonna Tibor
North Dakota Supreme Court
Filed Feb. 2, 1988

Background
Meredith Hovet was a physical education and business education teacher in the Hebron Public School District in his fourth year during the 1986-1987 school year. Madonna Tibor wrote a letter on May 21, 1987 to the School District requesting to see Mr. Hovet’s personnel file. The superintendent agreed to provide for her to review it on June 2, 1987 leading to Mr. Hovet filing a complaint for permanent injunction from the School District that no one could review his file but the legal representative of the School District. The case was submitted to trial where Mr. Hovet and the School District argued that the personnel file was confidential. Ms. Tibor argued it was a public record.
Decision
The courts decided that teacher personnel records are not exempt from the open-records law and therefore ruled in favor of Ms. Tibor. The open-records law Section 44-04-18(1), N.D.C.C. states that “except as otherwise specifically provided by law all governmental records are open to the public”. There is no law exempting teacher personnel files from the open-records law.
Impact on education
The case above pertains to personnel files of government employees (educators). This translates to the question of whether or not these files should be available to the public eyes. The decision landed all personal files of educators available for public review. What we as future educators need to take away from this is, we must make calculated decisions before engaging in activities that may put our career in jeopardy. Our integrity as teachers is something that is being reviewed every time we step foot in public. As much influence as we have on, not only our students; but our community, we should be outstanding law abiding citizens with nothing to hide.
Quiz question
In what court case decision allowed personnel files of educators to be reviewed as a public document?
A) Roe v. Wade
B) Hovet v. Hebron
C) Brown v. Board of ED
D) New Jersey v. T.L.O.






Rebekah Watson

Meredith Hovet v. Hebron Public School District and Madonna Tibor
North Dakota Supreme Court
Filed Feb. 2, 1988

Background
On May 21, 1987, Madonna Tibor sent a letter to the Hebron Public School District requesting to view Meredith Hovet's personnel file during his fourth year teaching at the school. When the superintendent agreed for her to view the file, Hovet filed a complaint requesting that no one that was not a legal representative of the school district had permission to view the file. During the case, Hovet argued that the file was confidential where as Tibor fought for the file to be determined public record..
Decision
Since the open-records law states in Section 44-04-18(1), N.D.C.C that all governmental records are open to the public, the courts ruled in favor of Tibor stating that the section does not exempt the personnel file of teachers.
Impact on education
This case shows that as educators, every aspect of our lives are under the constant judgement of the public eye. Every move we make and every action we take must be taken under the consideration of how this will effect our profession and our students if they found out. The old saying goes "If you don't want someone to find out that you did it, then don't do it" holds so true as educators because the wrong move could end our career.
Quiz question
T/F: The courts found in favor of Hovet because a personnel record, regardless of who it belongs to, is not open for public record.