School Email Retention Recommendation

(As of 2024)


  1. Montana’s specific guidelines on school records retentions are in Schedule 7: https://sosmt.gov/Portals/142/Records/forms/Local_Schedule7.pdf
  2. Board and policy decisions must be indefinitely retained but those are supposed to be in the board minutes and thus are not covered in this article.
  3. With staff emails, we see that most districts interpret that as to retain these records for three years. K12 Montana are not attorneys and cannot give you legal advice on this. Please consult with your district attorney on what policy to adopt based on the Schedule 7 guidelines above.
  4. After your team adopts a policy, please communicate your decision to us in writing so we can configure Google Vault’s retention policies. We will set a shorter or longer retention period if requested.
  5. If Google Vault is set up and in place, Google Vault will retain all emails for any existing accounts within the district. https://support.google.com/vault/answer/2539616?hl=en#zippy=%2Cif-a-users-managed-google-account-is-deleted-is-any-data-retained-by-vault-for-this-user-also-deleted
    1. Warning: Do NOT delete any user accounts that need to be retained. If a user account is deleted from the district, Google Vault will purge all data related to that user account as well.
    2. Rather than deleting user accounts, you are to suspend the user accounts and move them to the Archived/Suspended Accounts organizational unit inside Google Admin. 
    3. You only delete those user accounts when they fall outside your retention period.
    4. Once an email in a user account is older than the Vault retention period, the email will be purged from both Google Vault as well as from the user’s mailbox.