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The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) & other statutes related to student information
Provisions of FERPA Parents have the right to: • Inspect and review educational records • Seek to amend educational records • Consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records except as specified by law
Legislative History • Signed into law by President Ford on Aug. 21, 1974. • Effective Nov. 19, 1974 • “Buckley Amendment” • Amended on Dec. 31, 1974 by Senators Buckley and Pell • Amended a total of 9 times (USA Patriot Act of 2001)
Who is covered under FERPA? • Applies to any “educational agency or institution” (public or private) that is the recipient of federal funds
What Records are Covered? • “Education records” defined as: “Those records, files, documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to a student; are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution.”
Examples: • Cumulative record folder • Identifying data • Academic work completed • Scores on standardized IQ, aptitude, psychological and achievement tests • Grades • Interest inventory results • Health data • Family background information • Teacher or counselor ratings and observations
Exclusions • Records in the sole possession or instructional, supervisory and administrative personnel • Records maintained by a law enforcement unit of the educational agency or institution that were created by the law enforcement unit for the purpose of law enforcement • Records of employees who are not also in attendance • Physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist treatment records for eligible students
Rights of Parents and Eligible Students • Right to Inspect Records • Right to Challenge the Content of Education Records • Right to Consent to the Disclosure of Education Records
Exceptions to the “Prior Written Consent” Rule • Schools may disclose education records without consent when: • The disclosure is to school officials who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests • The student is seeking or intending to enroll in another school • The disclosure is to state or local educational authorities auditing or evaluating Federal or State supported education programs • The disclosure is pursuant to a lawfully issued court order or subpoena • The information disclosed has been designated as directory information
Directory Information • Name, address, telephone listing, e-mail address • Date and place of birth, photographs • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports • Field of study • Weight and height of athletes • Enrollment status • Degrees and awards received • Dates of attendance • Most recent previous school attended • Grade level
All FERPA rights transfer from parents to students who are 18 years of age or who are attending postsecondary institutions.
What Must Schools Do? • Schools must annually notify parents of student in attendance of their rights under FERPA • Means of notification • Local or student newspaper • Calendar • Student handbooks • Student program guides • Newsletters
Must keep a record of access in each student file indicating who has requested or obtained access to a student’s education record. • Must protect privacy rights of students and families in connection with any surveys or data-gathering activities.
Schools are not required to: • Create or maintain education records • Provide parents with calendars, notices or other information which does not generally contain information directly related to the student • Respond to questions about the student
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996. Sections 261 through 264 of HIPAA require the Secretary of HHS to publicize standards for the electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information.
Who is Covered by the Privacy Rule? • Health plans • Health care clearinghouses • Health care provider who transmits health information in electronic form • Schools as related to students & employees • Businesses as related to their employees
What Information is Protected? “Individually identifiable health information” is information, including demographic data, that relates to: • the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition, • the provision of health care to the individual, or • the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual,
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) PPRA is intended to protect the rights of parents and students in two ways: • It seeks to ensure that schools and contractors make instructional materials available for inspection by parents if those materials will be used in connection with an ED-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation in which their children participate; and
2. It seeks to ensure that schools and contractors obtain written parental consent before minor students are required to participate in any ED-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning: • Political affiliations; • Mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student and his/her family; • Sex behavior and attitudes; • Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating and demeaning behavior; • Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships; • Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers; or • Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) • States must have in place, within 2 years, procedures to facilitate the transfer of disciplinary records with respect to a suspension or expulsion by LEAs to any private or public elementary or secondary school for any student who is enrolled or seeks, intends, or is instructed to enroll in the school • Directory-type information must be provided to military recruiters who request it • Annual notification of Rights under the Protections of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)