Guidelines for Record Destruction

  • shred icon Records that are being considered for destruction must be processed in accordance with established Library of Virginia procedures. They also must be reviewed to ensure that they have been retained for the required length of time and that there are no legal, administrative, or historical reasons for the preservation of the records. A Certificate of Records Destruction (RM-3) must then be completed and signed by the school/department Records Manager, certifying that the records listed have been retained for the scheduled retention period, that required audits have been completed, and that no pending or ongoing litigation involving these records is known to exist. After school/department approval, the form must be sent to one of the WPS Record Officers at the Central Administrative Office for approval before the records can be destroyed.

Important Notice

  • If any records are still under audit, lawsuit, etc., at the time of the scheduled disposal date, then those records cannot be destroyed until a specified amount of time after the resolution of all such pending or ongoing action.

    If you receive a request to produce or retrieve a record that has already been disposed of in accordance with the standard disposal process, contact a WPS Records Officer to obtain a copy of the pertinent Certificate of Records Destruction (RM-3) that was completed at the time of disposal. The RM-3 documentation authenticates the destruction of the record(s) in question in accordance with Commonwealth regulations.

Steps for Preparing Records for Destruction

  • STEP 1: Determine Eligibility for Destruction of the Records

    • Check to be sure that the records have been kept for the correct length of time.
    • Determine the record series code that identifies the record series and retention period in accordance with Virginia General Schedules.
    • Refer to the WPS Records Retention Schedule for the appropriate retention series code and retention period.

    STEP 2: Request Records Destruction

    • Complete a Certificate of Records Destruction (RM-3 form), if required.
    • Have your school/department Records Manager sign the form.
    • Submit the form to the Records Officers for approval.
    • Be sure to indicate where the records are stored at your location, including room number, if applicable.

    Pointing hand These steps MUST be completed before you shred any original record. Both a WPS Records Officer and the school/department Records Manager must sign the RM-3 form before any further action can follow.

    STEP 3: Destruction of Records

    • Once the Records Officer receives the signed RM-3 form with proper approval for records destruction, the records are disposed of in accordance with state guidelines:
      • Regular paper records are disposed of by recycling.
      • Paper records with any privileged or confidential information, such as social security number, personnel information, grades, etc., must be disposed of by special shredding. A bonded records disposition company handles this type of shredding for Winchester Public Schools.
      • Electronic records must be "wiped" clean or the storage media physically destroyed; basic deletion of confidential or privacy protected files is not sufficient.
    • After the disposal process is complete, the completed RM-3 form is sent to the Library of Virginia, as required by the Commonwealth, and a copy is retained in the WPS Records Management Office.