An introduction to ferpa
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An Introduction to FERPA. The F AMILY E DUCATIONAL R IGHTS AND P RIVACY A CT. What is FERPA?. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy interests of parents and students with regard to “ education records ”

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An Introduction to FERPA

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An Introduction to FERPA


What is FERPA?

  • FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy interests of parents and students with regard to “education records”

  • Generally, FERPA gives parents the right to inspect and review their children’s education records, request amendment of the records, and have some control over the release of those record.

  • It affects every public elementary and secondary school

What are “Education Records”?

  • “Education records” includes:

    • All records

    • Files

    • Documents

    • And other materials such as films, tapes, or photographs

      …that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or by a party acting for the agency

Examples of “education records”

  • Report Cards

  • Discipline records

  • Surveys and Assessments

  • Health Records

  • Special Education Records

  • Correspondence between the school and other entities

  • Information that the school may maintain about parents

Release of Education Records

  • FERPA restricts the release of education records that are “personally identifiable information” (e.g. social security, student name plus info on that student)

  • Before releasing any such information, the school must obtain parent permission, unless the student 18 or over, or unless an exception applies

When Parent Consent is not required

  • Parent consent is not required when:

    • Released to other school staff who have a “legitimate educational interest” (i.e., a valid reason) to view the records

    • There is a student health or safety emergency

    • To provide “directory information”

Directory Information

  • “Directory information” is student records that are not generally considered harmful, and their release is not considered an invasion of privacy

  • What’s included in directory information depends on whether it’s released for school purposes (e.g., a graduation program or campus director) OR for an outside purpose (e.g., a private company requests student names for marketing purposes)

  • Before releasing any information (even if you think it’s director information), contact the Policies & Procedures Officer

Parent Rights to Release Directory Information

  • School districts must establish a policy and give notice as to the specific types of directory information they intend to disclose

  • Parents retain the right to opt in or out of disclosing directory info (parents fill out a form during registration)

Recordkeeping Rules

  • Any time there is a request for a student’s education records (other than by a parent), schools must maintain a record of:

    • Who requested the record?

    • What was the legitimate interest that each party had in obtaining the information?

    • What record was released and when?

Administrative Procedure F19

  • F19 is the administrative procedure that further explains FERPA

  • Forms are provided for:

    • Parent Conference and/or Student Educational Discussion Permission

    • Certificate of Nondisclosure

    • Request for Release of Student Records

Important Things to Remember

  • Disclose education records only with parent consent or under one of the exceptions in FERPA

  • “Education records” includes ALL records that contain information on a student and are maintained by a school

  • Give notice to parents of a court order or subpoena for education records before compliance

  • Document, document, document----keep records of disclosures

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